The film begins with a figure tearing out of bandages gasping for breath. Instantly, you start feeling tight around the chest. It’s uncomfortable and painful too.
The word Oxygen hits differently since Covid-19 has come around. It fills one up with worry, anxiety and dread. Netflix’s new film Oxygen, starring Mélanie Laurent, somehow manages to raise the same emotions in viewers. The Sci-Fi Thriller shows a story of a woman trying to break out of a chamber before the oxygen runs out. The film delivers with its excellent camera work and attention to details.
The fact that it was announced in 2017, way before the pandemic. But the eerie closeness is undebatable. Oxygen is a 101-minute long French Indie film directed by Alexandre Aja. The film takes you through the journey of Elizabeth Hanks or Liz who wakes up in a cryogenic chamber with no recollection of who she is or how she got there.
Liz breaks the first wall and looks at the viewer as she starts getting flashbacks of her past, letting us know that we are trapped with her on this journey. She is accompanied by an AI robot called MILO similar to Alexa or Siri as she tries to find a way out of this chamber. MILO converts from a villain to a partner as the narrative of the film changes.
Netflix’s Oxygen will leave you gasping for breath
The film begins with a figure tearing out of bandages gasping for breath. Instantly, you start feeling tight around the chest. It’s uncomfortable and painful too. Liz starts removing the IVs connected to her body. But these painful moments are sprinkled throughout the film. This was necessary as most of the film is shot inside that one chamber. Multiple flashbacks and camera angles have been used to break the monotony. The camera angles also work along with the story as we get to know different sides of Liz and her past. The story holds the viewer’s attention by providing you speckles of hope that Liz might get out but takes it away the very next moment as MILO reports the depleting oxygen levels.
You will be constantly looking for a way out of the chamber but it’s impossible to figure it out because you don’t know anything, hence you have to trust your protagonist, Liz.
But the issue is Liz doesn’t know anything either. She doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from or how did she come here. Your first expectation is someone has to come and save her but there’s no one, it’s just her and an AI response machine.
Liz starts showing promise as she starts using MILO to gather information to get out. On the way she finds out that her past was problematic and she has lost family to a deadly pandemic, which makes the film eerily real.
As Liz tries to get out, both the viewer and she realize that it is an impossible task but the plot keeps you hoping for a twist. There are twists, too many of them but we stay inside that chamber all this while.
In a Covid-19 World
The film replicates the emotions the world went through during the pandemic. One feels dread, isolation, anxiety and all together hopelessness. In a pre-corona world, Oxygen would have been just another usual sci-fi film but now, it feels almost next to reality. One can easily convince oneself that it is real or is happening right now.
“We started making this before Covid and then Covid happened and it just made the movie feel like a necessity,”Oxygen’s director Aja
Oxygen’s premise might make it seem like a low budget Netflix sci-fi film with not much promise. But the plot and the excellent acting makes it grip at your heart. It resonates with a world still ravaged by a deadly pandemic looking for ways to survive against the odds.