New Netflix Movie “Oxygen” Leaves You Lightheaded

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Time is winding down with only 22% of oxygen left in reserve.

Braylon Champion, Staff Writer

“Oxygen” is a French sci-fi psychological horror film that was released on May 12th. The movie follows Elizabeth “Liz” Hansen, played by Mélanie Laurent, after she wakes up inside a small, futuristic chamber with limited oxygen, no memories, and no way out.

 

Despite mostly taking place in a room the size of a twin bed, likely due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time of filming, the movie keeps you on your toes. The creators manage this through MILO, a voice controlled robot that acts as a futuristic Alexa who is able to control the chamber’s operations. Liz doesn’t have much time to ask questions though, with only around 50 minutes of oxygen in reserve before she dies of asphyxiation.

 

Liz is a competent character, using what little knowledge she has to connect the dots to her past and her unknown location. She is willing to do anything in her power to survive, going through powerful electric shocks just to jog a final key memory that could save her life. Her ability and willingness to do whatever must be done makes for great moments throughout the film, including the frantic final minutes.

 

The visuals, especially MILO’s interface and key parts of the last thirty minutes, are simply amazing. The technology to create these effects to such a level likely didn’t exist just a few years ago. The style as well that comes along with it is very identifiable, with current events filmed from only a few points of view, such as looking down at Liz from MILO’s screen or from the side of her head. Most of the flashbacks she gets are shot shakily with fast cuts from place to place or steady, slow pans from subject to subject. This helps the viewer differentiate memories from the present, which is very useful if you look away for any reason.

 

Many important parts of the chamber Liz is in are visible at any one time, including the heart rate monitor. This small detail changes throughout the film, capturing the smallest eureka moments and flashes of anger in huge spikes and large numbers. Another thing always in view is the reserve oxygen meter. Despite MILO announcing every percent lost, it’s nice to be able to check on it throughout the movie and when it gets into decimals.

 

Although not breaking into Netflix’s top ten, Oxygen is worth the nearly two hour run time, pushing some people’s deepest fear onto their home screen.