A man walks into a bar after hours and asks for service regardless; cleaning up for the night, the bartender, Paul, is understandably none too pleased to see Stevie, the son of the man who until his death had been his best friend. Unseen for three years since he left for college, not even returning home for Gordon’s funeral which Paul paid for, there is a debt which hangs between them, but instead Stevie offers a story…
A man walks into a bar after hours and asks for service regardless; cleaning up for the night, the man behind the counter is understandably none too pleased to see him, but he claims his car has broken down and he has been walking through the snow in his expensive shoes until he saw the lights of The Oak Room. He would call for assistance, but the phone lines are down and his cellphone is dead; fortunately, despite the circumstances, his host allows him to stay, eager to share a story…
A minimalist thriller of isolated individuals, oblique motives and the ceaseless snow which blankets the county and muffles all sound, the encroaching storm ensuring there is nowhere to run and little chance of interruption, The Oak Room is directed by Cody Calahan, nested stories told within empty bars, bleak recollections of incidents and the intersections of the lives of strangers and the estranged.
Too confident for a kid in debt who has nothing tangible to back up his obvious bluff, Final Recall‘s R J Mitte is unmoved by the justifiable anger of Haunter‘s Peter Outerbridge as Paul, unsure whether to reach for a baseball bat or a beer bottle and a bar stool as he listens to the story of The Oak Room, just the next town along in Elk Lake and only a week before in a similar snowstorm.
Stevie finding the basement full of his father’s boxed belongings more unsettling than the hostile audience of one upstairs, his exploration parallels the nested story of snowy childhood trauma told over the bar in The Oak Room by Michael (Vicious Fun‘s Ari Millen) to Richard (The Expanse‘s Martin Roach), not very gracious for a frozen man with a bandaged hand asking for favours, the characters not divulging secrets so much as untold private moments of their lives, but none of them necessarily share the truth.
Stories of small town hopes, grudges and retribution, low key with a mournful lo-fi slow country soundtrack which emphasises the sinister in the commonplace, The Oak Room is a darkened place built of wood on the strong foundation of the performances which bring out the sharp edges of the Peter Genoway’s deceptively simple script which could easily have been constructed as an equally effective stage play.
The Oak Room will be available on digital download from Monday 26th April