The Oak Room (2020) Movie Review

The Oak Room – Too Many Stories

Director: Cody Calahan

Writer: Peter Genoway (Screenplay)

Starring: RJ Mitte, Peter Outerbridge, Ari Millen, Nicholas Campbell, Martin Roach, David Ferry, Amos Crawley

Plot: During a raging snowstorm, a drifter returns home to the blue-collar bar located in the remote Canadian town where he was born. When he offers to settle an old debt with a grizzled bartender by telling him a story, the night’s events quickly spin into a dark tale of mistaken identities, double-crosses and shocking violence.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Oak Room starts when Steve (Mitte) returns home during a snowstorm, returning to the local bar to repay a debt to Paul (Outerbridge), offering him a story as to why he has returned.

As Steve recounts his story, he tells a tale of the time he was the bartender, meeting a stranger in the bar late one night, with their own story.

Thoughts on The Oak Room

Characters & Performances – Steve is the drifter who has returned home to pay a debt, he has a story to what has kept him away and he wants to tell it, which will give us the reasons to why he took so long to return. He is filled with a grief of not being home for his father’s funeral, a grief he would like to shake. RJ Mitte does struggle to become the narrator we need, each scene leaves him struggling to make the impact required. Paul is the bartender being told the story, he wants the debt repaid and isn’t prepared to listen to the stories, he just wants the point made. Must like everyone else in this film, we do find ourselves being left in the middle of jumping between characters, where the actors just don’t get to make the impact they would like to in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a drifter that returns to a local bar where he looks to pay of a debt, only for him to tell a story that starts tame before turning much darker than you could imagine. This is a story that is looking to make an edgy tale, only it takes a long time to get going and by the time we get to the darker side of the tale. Once we get the shocking side of things, it does feel flat and doesn’t seem to hit the chords it wants to and ends up leaving us with more questions than answers.

ThemesThe Oak Room is a mystery wrapped in a thriller that doesn’t get into the intense questions until much later into the film, leaving the tension not being built up for the shocking reveal. The single locations of the two bars does help keep things contained, but never gets used well enough for the truth.

The Oak Room will available on Digital Download from 26th April


The Oak Room is a film that is desperate to give us a shocking story, only it takes too long to get there.

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