Fifth about The Seventh

Oxygen (Oxygène)

Oxygen: to say that Alexandre Aja’s science-fiction thriller is claustrophobic is an understatement. While there are some images of the outside, almost the full action is inside the pod where a woman wakes up trying to figure out who she is, where she is, why she is there, and how to escape and survive. It’s the sort of movie that lives or dies based on the performance, and thanks to Mélanie Laurent, it more than live, it thrives. She projects an intelligent woman and all the expected swings: terror, stress, realization. Mathieu Amalric, as the voice of the system interacting with her, gives a fine emotionless performance. The space she lives in, the result of production designer Jean Rabasse’s work, is enticing: modern-looking, filled with information, and almost cozy. Cinematographer Maxime Alexandre captures the tight space in very varied ways, and alongside editor Stéphane Roche, gives the film a dynamism the single location would not suggest. Ultimately, this is a story that calls for some suspension of disbelief, but it’s well-told, a thrilling experience.

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