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Oxygen (1999)

6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 3,644 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 14 critic

A masochistic cop, who hides her predilection from her cop husband, gets involved in pursuing a kidnapper nicknamed Harry for Harry Houdini, who has kidnapped a rich woman and has buried ... See full summary »

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Title: Oxygen (1999)

Oxygen (1999) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Det. Madeline Foster
...
Harry
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Clark Hannon
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Frances Hannon
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Capt. Tim Foster
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Det. Jesse
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FBI Agent Jackson Lantham
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Madeline's Lover
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FBI Agent Phil Kline
Slavko Stimac ...
Det. Jerome Jerzy
Michael Henderson ...
Greg 'Handsome' Evans
Robert Shepard ...
Sal the Bartender
...
Scary Guy
...
Joe the Cop
...
Chris the Cop (as Christopher James Quinn)
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Storyline

A masochistic cop, who hides her predilection from her cop husband, gets involved in pursuing a kidnapper nicknamed Harry for Harry Houdini, who has kidnapped a rich woman and has buried her somewhere in Manhattan while demanding a ransom from her tycoon husband. Failure to pay the ransom within 24 hours will lead the kidnapper to abandoning the woman. Dylan Baker also appears as the fed that is assigned to the case. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 November 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dying to Escape  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Maura Tierney and Adrien Brody had to rush to finish this movie because both had other, bigger movies to film; Forces of Nature (1999) and Summer of Sam (1999), respectively. See more »

Goofs

When Det. Foster interrogates Harry at the parlor's room, the cigarette pack and the ashtray over the table appears closer/far and disappears many times. See more »

Quotes

Harry: You and I like a little pleasure with our pain.
Madeline Foster: I am NOT like you.
Harry: Really.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Filmed between torrential rainstorms on location in New York City See more »

Connections

References The French Connection (1971) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Surprisingly effective thriller, offers more twists and turns than ones with bigger budgets
23 December 2000 | by (Palm Desert, California) – See all my reviews

Oxygen is one of those truly rare surprises. A thriller that offers great performances from a "lesser known" cast, chases, twists and turns, and an overall satisfying story.

Director Richard Shepard had offers of a larger budget but it would have meant having it done the way the higher-ups in suits would have wanted it done. By managing to get several producers on the project, he was allowed to do the film the way he wanted and actually pulled off a fun thriller on a little over a million dollars for the budget. A wealthy sociallite is kidnapped, buried alive, and a ransom is demanded to reveal her location--but she has less than 24 hours, that is, if the air in her makeshift coffin lasts that long. There's a lot of talking going on in the process of saving her, but hey, figure how it would happen in real life, and for those looking for some thinking material as well as thrills, this plot works just fine. Besides, to me the most terrifying thing I can imagine is suffocating or drowning, and the idea of being buried alive like in this film is genuinely creepy.

Maura Tierney plays the cop role with much seriousness, Adrien Brody is so off kilter you forget he's actually a decent guy in real life (as revealed on the DVD's audio commentary), but big points go to Laila Robins as the woman buried alive--her character is so convincing she makes you feel uneasy to the point of squirming in your seat. There's a stunning car chase as well to satisfy action enthusiasts, but it's within context and not just another cheap thrill to fill up time. And just when you think things are about to finish, a really big wrench is thrown in to twist the story even more and have you thinking, "Wait just a darn minute...."

I found viewing the DVD a much more satisfying experience, as you get the widescreen version and better quality picture. The audio commentary is quite informative and even informal, as the director points out a tiny judgment mishap in which a scene was shot early with the actors wearing jackets, but the rest of the film surrounding that scene everyone is made to look like they're sweating from the hot weather. Considering I was originally enthralled with the story, I really didn't notice that until listening to the commentary. The DVD also has an interesting storyboard sequence for the car chase scene, with commentary. For a lesser known film with a small budget, there was quite a bit of care put in this release.

Give yourself a treat and check this film out. Consider this: Sometimes it's more fun to try a film that's not a big market blockbuster instead of having to only go with a "top 10" title. Just because a film has big stars and is pushed as a "hot new release" in a video store doesn't mean anything (goodness, haven't you learned that by now, folks?). Oxygen is one of those great little surprises that will have you saying, "Gee, why didn't I give this one a try earlier?"


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