Oxygen Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 17, 2009
CAST: Maura Tierney, Adrien Brody, Terry Kinney, James Naughton, Laila Robins, Dylan Baker, Paul Calderon

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."
Super Reviewer
½ May 2, 2009
I'm often asked why I waste my time watching independant films. It's true, that many of them are a complete waste of time, but what I really enjoy about them is that it gives people the freedom to do what they want, without Hollywood turning it into something it's not, and occasionally, I find a movie like Oxygen. This film was just your ordinary story of the police fighting against the clock and an insane criminal, who gets off on fucking with them. It had a few twists here and there, but in general it was a very basic story, however what I did focus my attention on was the cast. Being that it's an independent film, two performers who I really enjoy watching, got to step away from their usual roles and try something different. Maura Tierney is usually cast as the emotionless girl with a troubled past, but in Oxygen, she's this crazy, self-loathing, tough as nails cop, who wears her emotions on her sleeve. She's opposed by Adrien Brody who usually plays the sweet, good-looking, exotic stranger, but not this time. In this film, Brody is a deranged psychopath who will do anything and everything to get what he wants. The dynamic and chemistry were both fantastic and I loved seeing two actors, that I know very well, step away from their usual roles and work on something different. If I hadn't seen both stars in a ton of things prior to this, I may not have been as entertained by this film, as the story is common, and very little is unpredictable, however the performances were tremendous and Tiereny and Brody compliment each other perfectly.
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2008
A psychopath who dubs himself Harry Houdini (Adrien Brody) kidnaps the wife of a rich businessman, strips her, and buries her alive in a coffin with about an hour's worth of air, demanding a million dollars in cash in return for which he will reveal her location. If the ransom isn't paid, or the police are involved, 'Harry' will not give up the details... the husband gets the police involved. The detective investigating, Madeline (Maura Tierney of Scotland PA, Diggers and ER fame) is now the only one who can try and solve the case. A damaged masochist with a drink problem, she'll have to think like Harry in order to find the burial site before the oxygen runs out. Opening with a kinetic chase through a subway train, Oxygen immediately makes an impression. Its greatest asset is the well thought out characters, who so clearly have had lives before the film begins. In particular, Madeline is an absolutely fascinating protagonist and the bits of information we get build into something that makes the dénouement doubly exciting. The premise is excellently handled but this isn't a one-trick pony of a film and the sub-plots are equally well executed. Maura Tierney and Adrien Brody both give refreshing performances (a sort-of skew on the Hannibal/Clarice relationship in Silence of The Lambs) and the supporting cast (which includes Terry Kinney and Dylan Baker in a small role) is decent. The low budget is occasionally evident (a car-chase through New York City isn't exactly high-speed) but higher production values might have resulted in something more sensationalist and less imaginative. In any case, this is a solid, exciting little flick.
August 16, 2010
Solid B-level stuff, but still a somewhat interesting flick - due to its second-rate sampling of "Silence of the Lambs" and "The Vanishing" plotlines as well as 1970ish NYC copper chase-scenes and location-shoots.

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.
½ January 2, 2010
An excellent "sit on the edge of your seat" thriller, very exciting, always engrossing. Good performances from all, especially Adrien Brody. He plays a sadistic killer incredibly well. Some truly horrifying scenes, a great film.
½ December 21, 2008
Poughskeepie police detective Madeline Foster is assigned to a case where kidnappers have abducted the wife of wealthy Clark Hannon and buried her in a coffin in the woods and are demanding a million dollar ransom before the 24 hours of oxygen she has left runs out. The police succeed in apprehending Harry, the leader of the operation. But he proves a criminal genius who manipulates the police and FBI in a series of games. He becomes fascinated with Madeline, being drawn to her sexual masochism, and insists that he will tell only her where the body is buried.

Full review coming soon
July 8, 2007
A VERY good movie, yet not well-known. Brody proves his acting range in this one as a psychotic killer out for a good laugh. Very gripping, in my personal opinion and I recommend it.
½ April 7, 2014
Just horrible. corny writing and poor acting. Impossible plot holes and though I tried to get my wife to turn it off 3 times we stuck to the dreary end. Also one of the most boring car chases in screen history! Avoid at all costs
November 2, 2013
Oxygen (Richard Shepard, 1999)
[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. *
September 28, 2013
I love this movie, I wish someone would upload.. Ashley M..
½ February 23, 2013
A good psychological thriller. There wasn't a whole lot of mystery to it but there was a decent amount of suspense. There was a lot of emotion behind Maura Tierney's character Madeline Foster that I feel was not really needed. They needed to make her seem like she was so messed up inside but it did not need to be such a large point in the plot and then go no where in the end. This film ended rather abruptly and without much explanation other than they found the woman and killed the kidnapper. It was an ok movie and I enjoyed it, but to say I would crave watching it again may be an overstatement.
October 6, 2012
Not bad for a low-budget movie, but i have to admit without the actors performances this cheesy movie would flop.
½ May 5, 2012
Great premise, but the film lacks the substance to carry it through. Tierney is great as always.
August 9, 2011
Nothing good except the suspense
½ May 21, 2009
I really liked this tense little thriller. I forget how this ended up on my watchlist, but once I saw it, I was glad I did. Brody is great as a kidnapper who toys with the police who are trying to find a missing woman. A number of great scenes, like the car chase, as well as a moment toward the end of the film that had me nearly jumping out of my skin.
½ December 7, 2006
Oxygen was a strange film to watch. Halfway through, I said to myself, "Either this is a decent film or the worst film ever." It actually turned out to be just bad. The acting is top notch although. The plot is above average. The screen play is absolutley horrendous. Funny thing is I was entertained throughout the entire film.
½ August 30, 2006
Made for TV thriller starring Maura Tierney as NYPD detective Madeline Foster trying to catch kidnapper Harry Houdini (Adrien Brody) who has kidnapped a woman and buried her alive. The kidnapper had demanded one million in cash or he will not tell anyone where the woman is buried. Harry it appears knows alot about Madeline, who is a very troubled woman with a not so normal lifestyle.

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.

½ August 16, 2005
7.5/10 An excellent "sit on the edge of your seat" thriller, very exciting, always engrossing. Good performances from all, especially Adrien Brody. He plays a sadistic killer incredibly well. Some truly horrifying scenes, a great film.
½ June 22, 2005
Best in Show: Maura Tierney
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.
April 5, 2005
[center][b][font=Century Gothic][size=4][color=yellowgreen]Rock out with your cock out![/color][/size][/font][/b][/center]

[center]Thats right I said it. Now go on.. you know you wanna.[/center]
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