Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Netflix

Article updated: 2021.06.08

The Oxygène / Oxygen (2021) is a futuristic sci-fi suspense film. The movie was reviewed by Kadmon.

Product: Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

Original title: Oxygène, English title: Oxygen

Series: -

Setting: future Earth

Product type: Film, Genre: futuristic sci-fi suspense, Style: sci-fi, suspense

Release: 2021.05.12

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 40s, Preferences: Immersive, logical story, consistent setting, prefers surprises to spoilers, prefers establishing elements before referencing them

Watched: very recent (2021.05), first time

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Average (2 out of 3 points)

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This is my review of Oxygen, a sci-fi suspense movie from 2021. It's about a woman trapped in a cryosleep capsule, with a limited amount of breathable air. The Oxygen film has some interesting ideas, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

If you'd like to be surprised by the Oxygen film, I don't recommend you to watch the trailer beyond 0:31, because it starts to give away parts of the plot.

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Review (spoiler-free) - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

I randomly ran into Oxygen, and thought that it looked like an interesting concept, so I gave it a try. I didn't read any further, nor did I watch the trailer.

The Oxygen movie is about a woman trapped in a cryosleep capsule, with a limited amount of breathable air. She doesn't remember how she got there, and has no idea how to get out.

The flow of the the story is good, there's tension, and the story is consistent. However, as this is a sci-fi, it would have been great if the creators were more tech-savvy, as the use of science and technology is a weakness of the movie.

Visually the movie is not very interesting, most of the time we just watch the actress laying in a box.

There's basically one character, and she is not very well developed, although we get some glimpses into her. The actress portraying her is good. Also, she looks good enough that it's not boring to watch her, as most of the time the story revolves around her.

I can't remember the music, but that means it was not distracting.

Oxygen is an sci-fi suspense story, with some interesting ideas. I think fans of the genre could enjoy it, but those who don't understand sci-fi that much would probably enjoy it more.

My experience

I was mostly satisfied with Oxygen (2021), while watching it. Just don't start to think about the plot, because then it falls apart.

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points). Oxygène / Oxygen is a watchable story that looks okay.

Enjoyment: Average (2+ out of 3 points). Oxygène / Oxygen has some interesting ideas, but the concept is probably better than the implementation.

Rewatchability: I'm not sure. I think it's mostly the suspense of the story that makes you feel interested, and that's gone once you've seen the end.

Chance of watching it again: Unlikely. Now that I know the story, the tension is gone, so there's no need to watch it again.

Chance of watching a sequel: Yes, I'd probably watch it, especially if it was written by someone with more science expertise.

Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Netflix

Will you enjoy this?

If you like suspense movies, you might like Oxygen.

If you prefer action stories, you might find Oxygen boring.

If you like intelligent and thoughtful science fiction films, avoid Oxygen, as you might find it insulting.

If you get through the first 30 minutes of the Oxygen film without being bored or angry, you might enjoy the full movie.

If you don't mind illogical elements in your movies, you can enjoy this.

If you like twists, you might enjoy this movie. There are many unpredictable turns, mostly because they are not based on logic.

Watching for plot points

I don't think it would be worth watching the Oxygen movie for the plot points.

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Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Netflix

Review with spoilers - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

I mostly liked the Oxygen movie, while I was watching it, the problems started to become more obvious after thinking about the story.

One of my main problems is the handling of science and technology in the movie. It really shows that you should know about that before you start to write a story about science and technology, otherwise the whole plot will fall flat.

The lack of logic from the protagonists part is something I can forgive, although it's still tiring at times. The main character is supposed to be some kind of genius, but her acts of stupidity might come from her recent awakening, and there might be also gaps in her memory transfer.

The story would have been interesting otherwise, as you constantly had to reinterpret the setting and the character based on the new informations.

Cover

The posters are okay. They are quite generic, but they also don't spoil the movie.

The trailer

The trailer is okay. Although it gives away some secrets of the story, it also makes it look like it's tense and interesting.

Promise of the first scene

A woman wakes from cryogenic sleep. She is probably in a hospital. I assume she will get out of the sleeping capsule somehow.

Execution: Well, in the very end, she got out, so that's fine by me.

Plot summary / Synopsis

A woman (Mélanie Laurent as Elizabeth Hansen) wakes up in a cryogenic capsule, due to a system malfunction. She has amnesia. The oxygen supply is running low, she has 40 to 70 minutes left. She is able to access the computer (MILO), so she gets her name. She is able to call the police, so they start to search for her. She tries to call her husband, but the one who takes the call doesn't want to speak with her.

The police says that she doesn't have a husband. She sees memories of her husband being sick. She suspects that the police is hiding something from her. She gets a call from his husband's number, and caller tells her that her husband is dead, and gives her the password to open the capsule. She finds out that she is in space, orbiting the Earth. She was part of a space mission to colonise a nearby planet, and she's been up there in cryosleep since 12 years. The military organised the interstellar flight in secret, and they want to keep her silent now. The caller offers her that he'll help her to get back to cryosleep. The caller gets interrupted by attackers, and the call ends.

She opens a window to see that some kind of catastrophe happened to the spaceship, and there are dead bodies floating around. The computer tells her that a meteor struck the ship. She comes to the realisation that she is a clone, and she has memories transplanted from the original, who is an old woman now. Using voice recognition, she finds out that the man he was talking to is her old self. She finds her husband in a cryo capsule. She decides to go back to cryosleep, and orders the computer to relocate the oxygen from the capsules of the killed people to her capsule, so she'd have enough oxygen when she wakes up.

In the end, we see the spaceship starting the journey. Then we see her with her husband on the alien planet.

The setting

Future of Earth, I'd say around 2100.

Humanity is predicted to die in two generations. There's probably some kind of viral pandemic that causes the problems.

They are able to create clones with an accelerated growth. They can implant the memories of people into the clones. They created clones that are immune to diseases?

They are able to create a spaceship that can reach 10 light years in 34 years. That means they have 8.000 times faster spaceships than we currently have.

Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Netflix

The message of the story

I'm not sure there's one.

The structure of the story

The scenes of the Oxygen film are mostly played in sequence, with a couple of flashbacks inserted. It has the usual arc of the dramatic structure - beginning, action, resolution.

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Things I liked

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How does it compare to the other works of the creators?

This is the first feature film of the writer (Christie LeBlanc). For a first movie, this is not bad, but I hope she'll stay far away from sci-fi.

From the director (Alexandre Aja) I've seen Mirrors (2008) previously. I can't compare the direction, as I don't remember it that well, but Oxygen was probably a better movie.

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Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Netflix

Problems with the story - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

I mostly liked the story, I didn't find problems that would have prevented me from enjoying Oxygène / Oxygen while I was watching it, until the last 10 or so minutes.

This is the kind of movie that's immersive enough that you'll only find problems with it only after you've finished watching it.

Problematic elements

The artificial intelligence: Even today, chatbots communicate better than this AI does. Unless the aim of the AI is to distract the woman, but then it's a bit too helpful for that. So it's hard to see why does the AI misunderstand questions constantly.

Artificial gravity: Her capsule spins to create artificial gravity. She is able to switch this off. Yet, when she switches it back, and looks out of the window, her capsule is standing still. Also, every other capsule also stands still. Not to mention that it's probably more efficient to spin the whole structure, instead of spinning the capsules individually.

The structure of the spaceship: It looks to me that it's intentional that the capsules are just floating in space. What will happen if they will be revived from the cryosleep? When they reach their destination, and the capsules will open, all those people will be exposed to the vacuum of space, and die horribly. If they will be revived on the planet - although that doesn't make much sense -, they will be exposed to the alien atmosphere, and die horribly.

Badly programmed system: She was woken up, because there was a malfunction, and she had to free up some memory to transfer some functions to another processor. It seems to me that the whole thing should have been automated in the system, or even if it's not automated, it could have been solved by the system operators on Earth, who are monitoring the spaceship. The spaceship was intended to fly for 30 years without outside help, so there must be some redundancy built in.

The closed door and no warning: Our current technology is based on safety measures. There's no way they would let people get trapped in their capsules without mechanical means for getting out. A software can malfunction, power can go out. That's when they could still use a crank to open that door. Also, the fact that there's no warning sign about the door opening to vacuum is ridiculous. A fluorescent sign would be right above the head of the patient.

The robotic arm: Why does the system use a robotic arm to put a needle in her? Of course she dodges it, and gets the needle to use as a tool. However, she is already on IV. The system could just use that to give her sedatives, as we see later.

The phone calls: If the military was afraid that she could call the wrong people, why didn't they just switch off her phone. Also, why is there a phone in a cryo capsule at all?

Internet: If the military wanted her to stay amnesiac, why did they let her use the internet?

Internet information: When she does a search for herself, how come that it's the images from 50 years ago that come up first? I'd assume that the latest images would be shown, unless specifically searched for. I know the plot reasons - to make the audience believe that she is who she thinks she is -, but otherwise it doesn't make sense in the setting.

DNA test: It's a small thing, but the computer determines from her DNA test results that she doesn't have any medical conditions that would require treatment. Even if she is totally immune to every disease, and any internal changes (like cancer), a DNA test would not show any kind of physical injury (like a broken leg), unless these clones are also invulnerable.

Repeats: There were some scenes that were practically repeats of previous scenes. They are probably there to keep the tension, so cutting them would hurt the story, but at least they could have made them differently. For example, the woman losing her temper, or going hysterical, or crying, or being afraid of suffocation, or seeing lab mice, these were things that would have been okay, if they were only included once.

Wasting time: There were multiple scenes where she was just wasting time, so the air could run out. I get it that this was done to keep the tension, but it could have been done more efficiently.

Early reveal: At around 20 minutes, the computer says that the woman is 86 years old, although we see that she is probably younger. When the big reveal comes that she is a clone and the original is old, it doesn't come as a shock as it could have been.

Unneccessary space travel: As m_from_space points out, there's no need to travel, if humanity will go extinct, and the clones are created to be immune to the virus. They could just create a shielded facility to hold the human clones, to release them some time after the last sign of human life. This is both cheaper and more likely to be successful than sending a spaceship to an uncertain fate.

Unanswered questions

 

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Possibilities of improvement

  • Cut the robotic arm scenes, as they contradict later reveals. Or cut the scene with the IV in the foot.
  • Cut the interstellar flight elements, and change the exposition that it's a space station that will repopulate the Earth when humans are gone.

How it could have been better?

The problem is that there would be no story, if things would happen logically, with the setup shown in the movie. It would be something like this:

"There's an accident on the spaceship, orbiting the Earth. A cryo capsule malfunctions. The computer automatically replaces the required files, so they don't have to wake the woman."

To make it plausible that the woman has to wake up, make the capsule gets badly damaged from the meteor. The maintenace robots were all lost due to the catastrophe. And that is why they require the woman to do those changes by herself.

If the military really wants to keep things secret, the only way to communicate would be to call them. There shouldn't be any other phone calls beside calling the HQ.

The artificial gravity should work for the whole spaceship, and then there wouldn't be floating debris, as gravity would pull those to the surface.

Also, use a spaceship that has the usual structure that will help to keep the passengers alive even after reviving them from cryosleep.

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Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by KadmonOxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Film review by Kadmon
image © Netflix

Uses for the film - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

Plot

  • Interstellar settlers are sent to an alien planet
  • The interstellar settlers are clones, with implanted memories

Scenes

  • When the woman opens the window to reveal the spaceship, that looks good

Scenarios - Role-playing game

 

Scenarios - Wargame

  • There's an informant, who contacted someone, who shouldn't receive the information. A strike team is sent to the base of the informant. The attackers have to disable either the communication devices, or the informant to win the game. If the informant spends a number of turns to send the information, the informant wins the game.

Miniatures - 1/50-1/60 (28-32mm scale)

The woman: Human-sized female hospital patient.

The cryosleep capsule: Large / Very large cryosleep capsule. Possible models: I have sleep pods from Anthenocitis Workshop, but I can't find them in their products. Stasis Chamber from Battle Systems in the Battle Systems Scifi Terrain Medical Research Lab set. 3D print file for Cryo Chambers from 2nd Dynasty.

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Similar stories - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

Movies

Buried (2010): A man wakes up in a coffin, and the breathable air is running low. It's basically the same as Oxygen, but less optimistic.

Cube (1997): Some people find themselves in a deadly trap. They try to get out.

Cutterhead (2018): Some people are trapped underground, and the breathable air is running low.

Pandorum (2009): A man wakes from cryogenic sleep on an interstellar journey, due to malfunction. He has amnesia. The story concept is very similar to Oxygen, but Pandorum is more action-oriented.

Panic Room (2002): A family is trapped in a safe room, while burglars try to get inside.

Passengers (2016): A man wakes from cryogenic sleep on an interstellar journey, due to malfunction.

Phone Booth (2002): A man is trapped in a phone booth, threatened by a sniper.

Teo-neol / Tunnel (2016): A man is trapped underground.

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Frequently asked questions - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

Where can I watch Oxygène / Oxygen online? Is Oxygène / Oxygen available on Netflix? Is Oxygène / Oxygen on Amazon?

As of 2021.05.13, Oxygène / Oxygen is available on Netflix.

Will the Oxygène / Oxygen movie be available with English audio dub?

Yes, Oxygène / Oxygen is available with English audio dub, beside the French original. It is also dubbed in multiple other languages (German, Hungarian, Romanian).

Is Oxygène / Oxygen film based on a book or comics?

No, Oxygène / Oxygen is not based on either books or comics.

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Resources - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

Official

Oxygen: Official article.

Information

IMDB: Oxygène (2021): Database article.

WikiPedia: Oxygen (2021 film): Database article.

Letterboxd: Oxygen 2021 ‘Oxygène’: Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: Oxygen: Database article.

Reviews with no spoilers - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

Obsessive Cinema Disorder 電影強迫症: Oxygen Review: Review article about the Oxygen film with no spoilers.

The Iceman (for Arrow in the Head): Oxygen (2021) - Movie Review: Review article about the Oxygen film with no spoilers.§

Reviews with no spoilers - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - French

Yves Gounin (for A Movie a Day): Oxygène ★★☆☆ (in French): Review article about the Oxygen film with no spoilers, in French.

English version by Google Translate

Reviews with no spoilers - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Hungarian

Britpopper (for Focker Blog): Oxygen (2021) - In a cryosleep capsule no one can hear you scream (in Hungarian): Review article about the Oxygen film with no spoilers, in Hungarian.

English version by Google Translate

Reviews with no spoilers - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Italian

Marco Minniti (for Asbury Movies): Oxygen (in Italian): Review article with minor spoilers, in Italian.

English version by Google Translate

Reviews with no spoilers - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021) - Turkish

Buğra Şendürdar (for Bilimkurgukulubu): Awakening to the Unknown in a Capsule: Oxygen (in Turkish): Review article with minor spoilers, in Turkish.

English version by Google Translate

Reviews with spoilers - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

: Review article of the Oxygen movie, with spoilers. Includes a very detailed plot summary.

Analysis - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

 

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Buying the product - Oxygène / Oxygen, movie (2021)

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Have you seen the Oxygène / Oxygen film? How do you like the movie? Would you recommend it to others? Do you know reviews or resources you'd like to add? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!

 

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