Oxygen (film)

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For other uses, see Oxygen (disambiguation).
Oxygen poster
Directed by Richard Shepard
Produced by Richard Shepard, Jonathan Stern, Mike Curb, Carole Curb Nemoy
Written by Richard Shepard
Starring Maura Tierney
Adrien Brody
Terry Kinney
Dylan Baker
Music by Rolfe Kent
Distributed by A-Pix Entertainment Inc.
Release dates
  • November 12, 1999 (1999-11-12)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3,088 (US)[1]

Oxygen is a 1999 film, directed and written by Richard Shepard. The film follows a troubled cop, Madeline Foster (played by Maura Tierney) as she pursues a kidnapper who calls himself Harry Houdini (Adrien Brody). The film was shot on location in New York City.


"Harry Houdini" (Adrien Brody) has kidnapped and buried alive a rich businessman's wife. He demands $1 million in cash from the woman's husband in return for the release of the location of her burial site before she runs out of oxygen. He also states that if police involvement is initiated, he will ensure she is never found alive. As expected, however, police involvement is initiated and Detective Madeline Foster (Maura Tierney) is assigned with the task of finding the buried woman and catching Houdini.

It is quickly realized though that Houdini, in fact, wanted the police to get involved so he could commit a second kidnapping - that of Foster. When Houdini is finally caught as the result of a car chase involving him and Detective Foster, she attempts to get him to reveal the location of his buried victim. When Foster's initial interrogation of Houdini proves unsuccessful, the FBI are assigned to take over the case, although they do not have any more luck. In a plot twist, it is revealed that Houdini has already committed a murder, that of his accomplice. He now has nothing to lose and the police realize the death of the buried woman would not be as significant as first thought.

However, Houdini offers them a final lifeline - if he is allowed to talk to Foster, alone, he will allow his victim to be recovered alive. The police, now just puppets in Houdini's plan, give into his request. Troubled, Foster begins to reveal her darker side to Houdini and he sees a kindred spirit in her.

Soon after, it is revealed that Houdini was in fact a painter in the police department, and outlined the entire building in a very detailed map. Just as Foster is revealing the truth, Houdini takes her to the place where he buried the first woman. Foster escapes her hold, and releases the woman and takes Houdini's gun, then pushes him inside the coffin. As he taunts Foster, she shoots him rather than burying him.


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