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57 user 20 critic

Oxygen (1999)

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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 »

Director:

Richard Shepard

Writer:

Richard Shepard
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maura Tierney ... Madeline Foster
Adrien Brody ... Harry
James Naughton ... Clark Hannon
Laila Robins ... Frances Hannon
Terry Kinney ... Tim
Paul Calderon ... Jesse
Dylan Baker ... Jackson Lantham
Olek Krupa ... Madeline's Lover
Frankie Faison ... Phil Kline
Slavko Stimac ... Jerome Jerzy
Michael Henderson Michael Henderson ... Handsome
Robert Shepard Robert Shepard ... Sal the Bartender
Eddie Perez ... Scary Guy
Gene Canfield ... Joe the Cop
Christopher J. Quinn ... 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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 November 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dying to Escape See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

During the first car chase immediately after the small red car pulls in front of Harry and Det. Foster the passenger-side door panel can be seen smashed in. This is before any contact between the two cars. See more »

Quotes

Harry: We could put a little show on for the feds. Right here on the table. I got cigarettes.
Madeline Foster: F*ck you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References The French Connection (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Bring Me the Gun
Written by Shaij Ticotin & Premonanda Ram Johannes
Performed by Cross of Snow
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Taut Crime Thriller
5 February 2000 | by FlickJunkie-2See all my reviews

This made for TV psychological crime thriller exceeded my expectations. The story begins with the abduction of a rich wife for ransom. She is buried alive and her abductor sets about collecting the ransom for the location of her grave. However, this is really not the story but only the set up. The real story is about what happens after he is caught as the police and the FBI race against time to get him to reveal where she's buried.

Our sociopathic villain, known to us only as Harry (after his idol Harry Houdini) is well prepared for the psychological cat and mouse game that follows as he had planned what he would do if he were caught. The result is an effective (though often superficial) contest of psychological one upsmanship between Harry (Adrien Brody) and our heroine police detective, Madeline (Maura Tierney).

The story has some noticeable plot flaws for a film that is attempting to be a serious crime drama. Certain elements of Harry's escape attempts are implausible. Much of the dialogue between the police officers and FBI agents was inane drivel that made them look like idiots. There are other problems later in the story involving the buried wife that are also troubling. These are not enough, however, to mar an otherwise well crafted plot.

I was most impressed by the photography, not just the look of the film, but the way the images presented themselves. Director Richard Shepard used the camera very creatively, using objects in foreground and background to dramatize certain images. There was an excellent shot of Madeline's reflection seen in extreme close-up in Harry's eye. The handheld chase scenes made you feel like you were running behind the action. This is a level of directing that is not normally seen on TV. The whole film had a very raw, real look. Things were dirty and disorganized, just like in real life rather than being carefully and symmetrically placed.

The acting ranged from fair to excellent. The cops and the husband were generally pretty mediocre with moments of nausea. Maura Tierney was good but didn't have the range to play Madeline effectively. Madeline's character required a combination of tormented, pathetic self abuser and case hardened cop. Tierney was outstanding at the tormented side, but came across as tentative and flaccid as the cop (which was the greater part of the role).

The best performance comes from Adrian Brody as Harry. He was wry and unsophisticated while being just close enough to the edge to keep you guessing if he was cunning or just a psychopath. He played the part with sarcastic disdain, as if the character thought he was smarter than he really was, which indeed was the case.

Terry Kinney's character, Madeline's cop husband Tim, didn't give him much to work with. He was a wimpy whining loser. Kinney did an adequate job at this portrayal.

I rated this movie 7/10. For those who enjoy a psychological crime thriller, it won't disappoint.


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