DIRECTED BY: Richard Shepard
SUMMARY: This made-for-cable mystery thriller stars Adrian Brody as an escape artist-kidnapper whose method of torture involves burying his prey alive. When he strikes again, Maura Tierney is the policewoman who must track down Brody within 24 hours before he lets the air out of another one of his victims' hiding places.
MY THOUGHTS; "It is definitely like a nightmare come true, being buried alive... This movie was good.. It's got Adrien Brody, who in my opinion played bad very good.. Didn't really look like he could pull it off to me.. But he ended up proving me wrong.. I say his portrayal of his character is what kept this movie afloat.. There was a bit of over acting from Terry Kinney, or maybe I just didn't like his portrayal of the husband. Just didn't seem to fit. Maura Tierney was good as the dark cop. All in all it wasn't a bad watch to find flipping through the TV today. I am still a bit worried that I thought the part where they found the dog was funny? I don't know, I just found Adrien to be a funny psychopath. Anyways, this movie is worth the watch if you come across it."
Act I ends with kidnapper Brody in a police station sweatbox after his poorly conceived ransom pick-up and a wimpy car-chase down Park Avenue and the roadways orbiting Grand Central Station.
Then it's copper Tierney and Brody playing out their extended interrogation headgame. Tierney, the sexual masochist, and sadistic Brody find each other emotionally and intellectually bonding during her gaming for the location of Brody's buried-alive, time-running-out victim.
Technically speaking, Act III does deliver some plot twists, but lowered expectations regarding such are well advised.
Also, viewers shouldn't expect much in the way of true sexual content out of Tierney, this being made-for-late-night Cinemax stuff. Rather, it's implied through Tierney's cigarette burn-marks, whimpering semi-submissive phone calls and such.
Tierney here delivers a mildly titillating and otherwise uninteresting characterization; Brody's got his toes right up on the edge of the fine-line defining ham.
This could have actually been a more interesting, more enduring product - with stronger dialogue, acting and chase choreography.
RECOMMENDATION: Lifetime coughed this puppy up one summer Saturday afternoon, making it the best basic cable cinema available at the moment; recommended to others only under similar circumstance.
Full review coming soon
[originally posted 13Jul2000]
You knew I couldn't get through a post this long without at least one thoroughly awful review. Welcome to it.
This has a fine premise to it, I must say. A sociopath (Adrien Brody) kidnaps the claustrophobic wife of a millionaire and buries her in a box with about a day's worth of oxygen. A husband-and-wife cop team (Terry Kinney, Maura Tierney) have about that much time to figure out where she's buried.
Brody was the only thing worth watching in Summer of Sam. Tierney does well in almost everything. Same with James Naughton, who plays the millionaire, and Paul Calderon as Tierney's on-again off-again partner.
But this is bad. Bad, bad, bad. Despite wonderful sociopathy by Brody-once again the only decent thing about the flick (that's starting to become a refrain with me)-a number of subplots are started and never finished, no suspense is ever built up, the relationship between Tierney and her onscreen husband is just silly, the cliched battles between the cops and the bottle are trotted out with absolutely nothing new. All in all it's a jumbled, silly, unwatchable mess that should have been left on the cutting room floor. If you've got two hours to kill, spend them with Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead instead. *
He seeks to destroy her personal life as revenge for throwing a monkey wrench into his 1 million dollar scene.
Oxygen is a film that was first introduced to cable tv and had a short run into theaters before coming out onto DVD without making any noise.
However, it's a decent little thriller that manages to overachieve with a solid performance from Maura as the troubled cop. There's a slight bit of original stuff here, but there's still alot of predictable and rather generic stuff here.
While the buired alive thing is a decent concept, it's hard to believe that his woman would survive this long. In the end, it's cast makes it slightly above average, but you get the feeling that this is a film that overall has been done before and just alittle bit better.
One for the future: Maura Tierney
Stand-out scene: Subway chase
Brainer or no-brainer: No brainer
Stands up to one viewing or repeated?: One
DVD commentary any good?: n/a
Maura Tierney got her ER gig a year after this film was released having teetered on the brink of breakthrough movie success with a series of high profile roles (Liar Liar, Primary Colors). Her co-star here, Adrien Brody went on to win an Oscar for his work in The Pianist but here he's on fairly routine duty as a vindictive murderer with a Houdini fixation. This movie comes across as an attempt to re-write Silence of the Lambs for TV, with Tierney in the Foster role (is it just a coincidence that her character is named Maddy Foster?) and Brody doing his best Hannibal Lecter (in a Husker Du T-shirt) as 'Harry' (as in Houdini). The opening scene sees Tierney make use of the f-word - something that you wouldn't get on ER - Maddy Foster being a New York cop who's not afraid to chase a suspect down even when she's off-duty. It emerges that she's married to the Chief and is hiding a dark secret; submissive sado-masochistic tendencies. The cigarette burn marks on her arms allows 'Harry' to torment his interrogator (a la the lamb anecdote in Silence of the Lambs) and the familiar turns the story takes are straight out of the big book of kidnap plots. The 'twist' at the end is particularly inane, and you find yourself grateful that Tierney was provided with material worthy of her acting abilities when she joined the ER cast. She can, and has, done much better than this.
[center]Thats right I said it. Now go on.. you know you wanna.[/center]