O2 is the latest thriller drama film about survival which was released on Disney+ Hotstar on 17 June 2022. The film is written and directed by GS Viknesh, a debuting director. It is produced by SR Prakash Babu and SR Prabhu under the banner of Dream Warrior Pictures. The film has a runtime of about 2 hours and is available in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada languages with English subtitles.
The cast includes Nayanthara as Parvathy, Rithvik (child actor) as Veera, Bharath Neelakandan as a corrupt police officer, RNR Manohar as an ex-MLA, Jaffer Idukki and Aadukalam Murugadoss as the bus driver. The story revolves around a single mother’s struggle to save her ill son while being trapped in a bus under a landslide.
Disney+ Hotstar’s synopsis of the film reads:
When a group of bus passengers get stuck in a landslide, a single mother struggles to protect her son and secure his oxygen cylinder from a desperate officer.
-O2 Review Does Not Contain Any Spoilers-
Plot: Struggle for Oxygen
The film is about Parvathy, a single mom whose 8-year-old son Veera is suffering from a rare lung disease that doesn’t allow him to breathe normally. This means he’s always on oxygen support. Parvathy’s last hope to see her son get well is to make him undergo surgery in Cochin. Similarly, there are other characters like an inter-religious couple waiting to elope, an ex-MLA, a corrupt police officer, a bus driver, a released prisoner and a few others.
All the characters board a bus from Coimbatore and are on their way to Cochin for different purposes but due to certain circumstances, they get trapped inside the bus in a landslide while on their way. Being stuck for hours under the landslide, they all are on the brink of death and going through various emotions. The desperation to survive changes them for the worse and turns them against each other. In this fight for life and death, will Parvathy and her Veera escape on time? Will they get rescued before people kill each other?
The Good and The Bad Parts
It starts with an animation showing cutting of trees and the birds losing their home, flying off to the cities and a twig left by a bird growing into a plant when potted by a child. This animation seems out of place at first but forms the premise of the story, that if we destroy nature it will harm us as well. Then we are introduced to Parvathy and Veera as he is about to have surgery in Cochin soon. On the other side, Rafiq is beaten and thrown out of his girlfriend’s house when he asked her hand for marriage.
Moving to the day of travel, due to heavy rains, the cabs are not running thus Parvathy has to take the bus to get to the hospital. Likewise, Rafiq, an ex-MLA with his assistant steps onto the bus as he was advised by his astrologer not to take the car, Rafiq’s girlfriend and her father are also aboard. In the mid of the journey, the bus is stopped by the police and an officer boards it who is working in a drug cartel as well.
The film has a promising start with good cinematography which builds the mood of the film. The acting by Nayanthara as Parvathy is obviously good but the child actor is no less and gives an equally good performance with a range of emotions in the film. The same can be said about Bharath Neelakandan as a corrupt police officer, as he is terrific as an antagonist who wants to kill everyone on the bus so that the level of oxygen doesn’t decrease for him.
However, the potential fades away by the second half of the film as the characters start to seem like hollow caricatures who are asked to be whimpering and fighting all the time. We are not able to connect or empathise with the characters, not even with Parvathy. Yes, she is trying to save oxygen for her son but if she is dead then what’s the point. But here the story tries to go into the supernatural genre direction as, even though everyone is gasping for air, Parvathy is totally fine because that’s the power of a mother’s love. Hah!
The story becomes pretty predictable and the climax is no shocker. There are a lot of flaws and unnecessary details that could have been done away with and made into a shorter film. There was no point in showing the backstory of the bus driver who is in need of money. Nor was there any resolution for the inter-religious couple as her father was still trying to kill the boy till the end.
O2 movie on Disney+ Hotstar is a good film but with some flaws that make it underwhelming. The story had great potential that could have captivated the viewers better but just like its character, the story goes astray from the second act. The film was majorly shot in a closed space and the cinematography is brilliant with the eerie music, but all the good factors can’t save it from dying under the landslide of a loose script.
O2 is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.