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A woman wakes in a cryogenic chamber with no recollection of how she got there. As she's running out of oxygen, she must rebuild her memory to find a way out of her nightmare.

When a woman wakes up in a cryogenic chamber with no memory, she'll struggle to escape as the oxygen in her capsule begins to become critical. Her only means of communication is an onboard computer named MILO with which she must discover who she is, why she is there, and how to remedy her nightmare before time runs out.

The French director leaves the piranhas (Piranha 3D) and killer crocodiles (Crawl), to finally sign a high-concept thriller shot in claustrophobic atmosphere with a wonderful Melanie Laurent. The generous and involved French actress takes up the challenge with amazing interpretation. With her face and voice as her only means of expression, Laurent runs the gamut of emotions, from fear to anger to grief. She simply gives one of the best performances in an exercise where she was not particularly expected.

While claustrophobes will start to feel dizzy, the narrative finally gets out of this "jail" and allows us to escape and discover her memories at the same time as the heroine does. The flashbacks in the hospitals, with masked patients and doctors, make the tension rise even more strongly on these particular days of COVID.

“Aimeriez-vous un sédatif?” - MILO

Nevertheless, the film don't fall into weird conspiracy and remains on track avoiding even any resemblance with the thriller 'Buried' except for their concept of confinement. The script never ceases to surprise with its rich concept of thematic and narrative twists and turns, and feeds the curiosity of the viewer who constantly wonders about the resolution.

Alexandre Aja directs a thriller in a confined environment of a very different kind, but very effective. With current themes of isolation, loss and fear of an uncertain future, "Oxygen" has never lived up to its name. Thanks to solid direction in an incredibly confined space and the phenomenal work of Melanie Laurent, the film becomes a welcome breath of fresh air in today's world.


Directed by Alexandre AjaWritten by Christie LeBlanc

Release on May 12, 2021

Runtime: 100 minutes

Casting: Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi, Laura Boujenah, Eric Herson-Macarel, Marc Saez


Thomas Guyot screenwriter author director website
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