Oxygen (2021) by Alexandre Aja

Direction: Alexandre Aja.
Performers: Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi.

Written by Christie LeBlanc.


A woman (Mélanie Laurent) wakes up in a cryogenic unit. He does not know who he is or what he is doing there.
The capsule, which is progressively losing oxygen and endangering its life, has an artificial intelligence assistant, MILO, who interacts with it to try to overcome this extreme situation.


Alexandre Aja takes in this film the premise of Rodrigo Cortés’s “Buried (Buried)” to space and science fiction.
It handles similar elements about a claustrophobic psychological thriller, with a plot against the clock and a survival action with a Kafkaesque introduction .


The film, with the almost unique presence of Mélanie Laurent in a limited setting, introduces the story in a tone of anguish heightened by the characteristic of amnesia and the search in a futuristic human-machine link for a reconstruction of identity.

We feel the anguish, fear, confusion of the protagonist in almost monochromatic settings (usually blue, sometimes red), with close-ups, some circular movement, and with external contacts through calls, the Internet …
The happy images in flashbacks accentuate present anguish. The sad ones rush the fear.
The film could place the victim in a situation of dystopian control by totalitarian governments, of condemnation from power to an uncertain destiny with the man as the guinea pig of a medical-scientific experiment; but no, he only worries in obvious sensations, in basic emotions, with monotonous conflicts of low interest and a comfortable resolution.

Mélanie Laurent

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