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‘O2’ movie review: Nayanthara’s latest could have been gripping, but loses steam

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Featuring Nayanthara, ‘O2’ could have been an edge-of-the-seat survival drama. But it largely isn’t.

Featuring Nayanthara, ‘O2’ could have been an edge-of-the-seat survival drama. But it largely isn’t.

Travelling is memorable not just because of the destination, but due to the journey. Bus trips, for instance, are special because of the many kind of people en route to a destination.

Parvathy (Nayanthara) and her son, Veera (YouTube star Ritvick), who has a breathing disorder, are embarking on one such trip. So is a politician who has lost elections, a man whose love has been rejected by the girl’s family, and a policeman involved in a shady deal.

It is a six-hour trip – from Coimbatore to Kochi – but this group, along with some other characters, get caught in a landslide. Will they be able to escape?

The good thing about O2 is that it does not waste a lot of time in setting things up. Barring an emotional mother-son song, which contributes towards showcasing their camaraderie (which is fantastic), it jumps straight into the premise: how a group of strangers deals with a life-threatening situation?

O2

Cast: Nayanthara, Ritvick

Director: GK Viknesh

Storyline: A group of passengers in a bus journey get stuck in a landslide

On paper, O2 comes across as a survivor drama with interesting elements. But, such a subject needed far more tension to work. After its initial setup, O2 becomes much like Squid Game, which too showcased how individuals react to certain situations thrown at them and how group dynamics work. But here, the characters stuck inside the bus are a tad too many – with each of them having multiple problems – that we stop caring for them, unlike a Helen (2019) that focussed on a single person’s travails.

The mother-son relationship is endearing indeed but that’s not going to help us be invested the whole time. The love angle about a couple is weak, as is the politician who is always frustrated at the situation he’s in.

Director GK Viknesh manages to throw in some interesting sequences in the second half, especially the sequences in which some people in the group get angry. The cinematography (Thamizh Azhagan) and composer Vishal Chandrasekar try to spruce up things, but the ending seems too convenient. Much like Hollywood film Oxygen (2021), O2 also brings to light how important breathing is, and how we take oxygen for granted, but all that isn’t enough to make it a gripping survival drama.

O2 is currently streaming on Disney + Hotstar



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