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Oxygen’ Review: Alexandre Aja Crafts a Claustrophobic and Twisty Sci-Fi Thriller


Oxygen Updates: With a claustrophobic Netflix thriller, the French horror favorite returns. The official trailer for “Oxygen,” the upcoming thriller from French horror filmmaker Alexandre Aja, has been released on Netflix. Mélanie Laurent, who won a Cesar Award for her performance in the film, plays a scientist who wakes up in a cryogenic chamber with no memory about how she got there or who she is.

The film was originally known as “O2,” but Netflix has renamed it “Oxygen” for its upcoming release next month.

The official synopsis from the streamer is as follows: “‘Oxygen,’ directed by Alexandre Aja, is a French survival thriller. The plot follows a young woman (Mélanie Laurent) who awakens in a cryogenic pod.

She has no recollection of who she is or how she came to be there. She must restore her memories and find a way out of her nightmare when she runs out of oxygen.”

The single-location film challenge has both advantages and drawbacks. In one side, the stakes are still in place.

You’re confined to a small space, the environment is claustrophobic by nature, and you’re probably running against the clock. Audiences can easily grasp the situation and become invested in it.

The challenge is to keep the film exciting because you only have a single actor on camera with little space to navigate.

Your exciting premise could quickly devolve into a tedious gimmick if you’re not careful.

To director Alexandre Aja, screenwriter Christie LeBlanc, and actress Mélanie Laurent’s credit, their new film Oxygen always keeps us hooked because they’ve wrapped the premise in layers of mystery, where we’re compelled not only by our protagonist’s survival, but also by the specifics of her situation.

The greatest pleasure of watching Oxygen is figuring out how the filmmakers will keep the storey moving forward and what new twists they will reveal to keep the plot moving forward.

The most enjoyable aspect of watching Oxygen is predicting how the filmmakers can keep the storey going forward and what new twists they will introduce to keep the plot moving forward.

All About the Show: Oxygen


The woman has no idea who she is or what her name is, but she is determined to survive by using the resources available to her.

Any more would be a disservice to the experience. The film opens with a picture of a rat in a maze, indicating that what we’re seeing isn’t all that’s going on.

This is both a survival thriller and a mystery, as the woman must find out how to stay alive as her oxygen supply runs out while also uncovering the truth about her situation (again, another tell here is that she has no memory of her name or her life, so obviously a mystery is being constructed around those questions).

The way LeBlanc’s script manages to weave both the survival aspect and the mystery aspect together makes for a consistently exciting and entertaining film I kept checking my watch on Oxygen, not because I was bored, but because I couldn’t figure out how they could keep the storey going.

As he sticks to the confines of the cryogenic chamber, Aja makes probably his most outstanding directorial effort yet.. As long as he stays inside the walls of the cryogenic chamber, Aja puts forth his best directorial effort yet.

The chamber is barely bigger than Laurent’s body, but there are so many clever decisions about what it can and can’t do, as well as how it should look, that we’re intrigued by what could happen next.

Aja keeps his camera moving and always finding the right angle to better express this storey in a film that could easily have felt stagnant and run out of steam. He is aware of the space’s limitations and uses them to his benefit.

Laurent, who wants to run the emotional gamut but has very little space to move her body, deserves a lot of praise.

This is a film that heavily relies on her feelings and facial expressions, and it serves as an excellent lesson on what makes a movie star.

Even when they’re the only one on screen and in a single spot, a movie star keeps you invested. There’s nowhere to hide once more.

Laurent is the only one who can handle it, and she does so admirably by portraying her as a truly human being. She is devoid of quips and unique information.

She’s trying to figure out what’s going on alongside the crowd, and she’s the emotional anchor for each new discovery.

Oxygen is a masterpiece of a sci-fi thriller and it thrives or perishes on the suspense it creates in its crowd.

The survival aspect makes it a race against time, but in a way, that’s the least exciting part because we know the oxygen won’t run out halfway, but Aja makes us believe that something could happen because there’s so much suspense.

The film is essentially a game for the viewer in which you attempt to find out what’s going on before the woman does, and although attempting to figure out what’s going on in a film can be a meaningless pursuit at times, Oxygen makes it fun and entertaining.




About the author

Mathew Rockford

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