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Oxygen (1999)

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Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Screenwriter/director Richard Shepard and actors Adrien Brody and Maura Tierney Rating:8.0/10 (1 vote) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by frankasu03 on February 21st, 2017:Find all reviews by frankasu03
Stumbling across this nearly 17-year old DVD, I was pleasantly surprised to find this lively commentary track from the lead actors and Director Richard Shepard. The rapport from this trio is very breezy and, oftentimes, hilarious. Neat to learn that Maura and Richard were classmates at NYU, and "failed physics" together, which meant she had to star in his future film. Shot over 29 days, and for $1.2 Million, "Oxygen" tried to capture the excitement of "The French Connection," while supplying an array of interesting characters. The numerous "rip-off" (or homage) shots to William Friedkins' classic are pointed out, and Shepard even jokes that Friedkin would be around to "beat him up" any minute. Brody and Tierney are so "game" for this commentary. Brody loves to insert his many improvisations, and even props, into the film and helpfully points out his knife (which makes an appearance in "Summer of Sam"), and toys he found while in Chinatown. The braces Adrien adorned were in fact real, and proved to be as uncomfortable as you would imagine. A good sport, Brody states he would never sue the production, but if his teeth were ruined, they would certainly "pay for it." A real fun exchange comes when Brody speaks about his own love for magic, and informs the viewer where the real grave of Harry Houdini is located (in Queens, close to his parents' house). To wit, Maura immediately states her influence: that being Angie Dickinson in "Police Woman." For those who have enjoyed Maura's contributions to the "NewsRadio" series commentary tracks, this "tongue-in-cheek" conversation will continue to satisfy. Native New Yorkers, this trio, so they routinely comment on their prowess (or lack thereof) behind the wheel. The "high-speed" chases were really anything but, as the actors were pulled behind trailers going between 5-10 MPH. Continuity gaffes, tips for low budget filmmakers, and location info pour out through the commentary. It would be fun to hear these personalities reflect on their time together, but this recording captures Brody right as he was to breakthrough in the aforementioned Spike Lee film. And to hear from Shepard and Tierney, whose work continued in television, as well as mid-sized theatrical releases, would be a delight. Fun track, for what could have been a rote "Silence of the Lambs" copycat. A hidden gem, 8/10