When the playwright / dissenting Oscar Wilde famously noted that imitation was the most sincere form of flattery, he likely never predicted that the idea would apply to a new application Netflix Original, but good, it fits, and here we are. Your new science fiction horror thriller “Oxygen,” is a film that is very different from such intimate gazes at claustrophobic spaces like 2010 “To bury “ and a pinch of cryonic-ice-cold drama: “Forever Young. “Oxygen” is not just difficult to steal from the former, still decent Ryan Reynolds Thriller, but director Alexandre Aja– who made the movie that was shot during the height of the 2020 pandemic – takes advantage of the need for socially distant movie sets with a story that somehow manages to include not-so-subtle references to last year’s virus outbreak, whether intended or not. With a spartan cast raised by one star Melanie Laurent“Oxygen” isn’t exactly the most original movie on the block, but it’s still a tight and convincing thriller that straps you into the cryochamber and punishes you as viscerally as the protagonist.
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Unfortunately, the comparisons to “Buried” go as far as possible without venturing dangerously into spoiler territory, but for a film that primarily focuses on one character from start to finish, there are still enough unexpected twists and turns to be To keep the film captivating and fascinating The viewer is locked in. Like “Buried”, “Oxygen” revolves around a woman (Laurent) who wakes up in a confined space. In this case, it’s a slim cryo-box, and it has little knowledge of who it is, how it got into this situation, and most importantly, how it can possibly get out.
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Fortunately, a Siri-esque A.I. called Milo (voiced by Mathieu Amalric) has come to the rescue, one who serves as both a confidante and partner in her attempts to piece together what may happen. Vague flashbacks and videos posted by the A.I. either help the heroine find the answers she is looking for or further confuse her. Still, she’d better act quickly, as the air … um, oxygen … has been running out of air since she opened her eyes for the first time. Yes it is a basic idea.
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Alexandre Aja makes the most of the enclosed space by equipping it with numerous touchscreens, life-sustaining monitors and the black emptiness in which Laurent communicates with Milo, and is given visual aids that will hopefully aid her in her search. All of these tense tensions – the engine that makes the film so sinuous and entertaining – are aided by a heavily orchestral score that is just as distinctive as those shown on screen. Robin CoudertThe fearful score is one that perfectly matches the unique angles Aja’s camera can somehow squeeze into, and even multiple long tracking shots that further help prevent visual monotony. Those in search of sleep deprivation will be satisfied. “Oxygen” has several while still knowing where to draw the hallucinatory line. Somehow, one periodic, unexpectedly disgusting moment manages to sneak into the movie from time to time, enough that several scenes are almost uncontrollable in the best possible way. Oh, and if you were hoping the film could open on a matter that recalls the still horrific moments in the 1993 UFO,Fire in heaven“You are shockingly lucky.
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Ryan Reynolds had one of the best performances of his career on “Buried,” and Laurent does it here in almost exactly the same way. Fortunately, once one can look beyond the previously experienced plot points, a unique puzzle unfolds that arouses enough curiosity that even the most easily predictable moments are lifted by those that surprise the viewer. Laurent’s natural talent has always been seen throughout his career, but she’s really at her best here and convinced. The ability to convey confusion, terror, exhaustion and an insane blank look at once with nuances from moment to moment is not easy to achieve, but Laurent is just an expert in communicating this complex vortex of emotions.
The same goes for Milo, who at the end of the day somehow acts both as a pseudo-antagonist and a helpful helper, like any library card catalog or person who says, “Hey Google,” he’s just doing his job. The rest of the sparse case doesn’t really suit Laurent, she’s so good but usable and luckily not so much. more means to an end storytelling devices seen in flashbacks.
Aja has managed to start a career with shocking, but nevertheless gratifying feelings of guilt, be it the Alligator Festival 2019. “Crawl, “2010’s B-Horror”Piranha 3D“Or the 2006 remake of”The hills have eyes. ”With” Oxygen “he managed to conquer a very well-traversed genre – the claustrophobic thriller – that doesn’t necessarily break new ground and yet somehow breathes new life into it. There’s not much in the way of subtext or a message. Aja has little to say about cryonics and the potential dangers of this still controversial medical procedure. But that’s fine and works towards the filmmaker’s strengths in conveying escalating anxiety and fear with excellent tension. “Oxygen” may not be the most unique movie, but its incredibly panic-stricken and suffocating properties will leave you breathless nonetheless. [B+]