Confined like all of us, Alexandre Aja took the opportunity to make his first film in French since 2003. Diabolical scenario, inventive staging and correct interpretation of Mélanie Laurent make “Oxygène” a good entertainment which echoes the locking of the world by Covid time.
As much to warn the fans of Jean-Michel Jarre from the start: Oxygene, the new film by Alexandre Aja (his first in French since Haute Tension, in 2003) is not a biopic on the god of the synth, known for his gigantic concerts. Nothing pharaonic here, more a sort of confined requiem, in line with the confinement that we have all known for over a year.
Following a mysterious unforeseen event, a woman (Mélanie Laurent) wakes up trapped in a medical chamber, the place that will be the main setting for the feature film. What is she doing there? Has she been operated on? Is she taking part in a scientific experiment? She doesn’t know anything about it, she forgot everything. Like us, she discovers this restricted environment, its nooks and crannies and its screens, especially the one that tells her that the oxygen level in this sanitized coffin is dangerously decreasing.
We’re in the future, that’s for sure, but which one? The latest equipment tells us little, the “voice” of the subwoofer on the other hand plunges us into anticipation. In this vocal-only role, Mathieu Amalric is convincing in artificial intelligence slightly more human than the HAL 9000 of 2001, A Space Odyssey. Virgin of memories, the character of Mélanie Laurent (re) is born before our eyes and must dive into her memory to know where she is, and especially how to get out. Amalric is her only connection to the outside world and allows her to communicate as she sees fit, or almost …