Owen Gleiberman
November 12, 1999 AT 05:00 AM EST

Oxygen

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
Limited Release Date
11/05/99
performer
Adrien Brody, Maura Tierney, Dylan Baker, Terry Kinney, James Naughton
director
Richard Shepard
author
Richard Shepard
genre
Drama, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B

In Oxygen, Adrien Brody gives a juiced-up, effusively nasty performance as Harry, an eloquent punk psycho who kidnaps the wife of a Park Avenue tycoon and buries her alive (she has just 24 hours to live). Brody is the rare actor intelligent enough to make sadism charming. His street-hawk look is more commanding here than it was in ”The Thin Red Line” or ”Summer of Sam,” and he keeps breaking into a mock doofus underbite, as if in homage to early De Niro.

Maura Tierney is the troubled New York City cop who goes one-on-one with Harry in a police interrogation room. He may be in handcuffs, but he figures out her dirty sex secret (she’s a pain freak who gets off on being burned by cigarettes), and so they’re evenly matched. This lurid little thriller is, at times, a bit rigged, but writer-director Richard Shepard knows how to pull the strings.

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