This is a rather interesting, and intimately told story. It takes place during a snowstorm, and follows two individuals. They’re trading stories, which might seem innocent though these types of tales usually carry a heavier tone. It’s somewhat told like a horror story, yet at the same time it leans more towards a level of tension.
It’s really neat how they dive into smaller sub-stories, yet at the same time never lose focus on the real experience at hand. At the core, we have the return of Steve (RJ Mitte) to a small Canadian town after many years. He’s back to settle an old debt with an aged bartender by presenting a story. The smaller tales have twists, there will be turns and everything comes together in a satisfying way.
I found the central part of this to drag a bit, to slightly lose my interest at times. Still, it picks right back up towards the end for a rather gripping time once things start to fully unravel, I found that quite interesting and surprising that it could peak at such a height despite being close to possibly losing me.
The acting here is quite great, you get a shortened roster of characters but they all matter. It’s the smaller details that really paint the picture of what’s going on. It’s not a traditional horror experience, but it might very well be as things begin to be revealed over time. I was really blown away by the cinematography here, it’s gorgeous.
Each scene had such a distinct and consistent lighting style to it that really set the mood. Some very sleek visual setups throughout. They really used the minimal bar spaces to their advantage with each scene shining brightly with how it was presented. It definitely didn’t hold back in terms of some graphic moments, and when they arrive it may very well be startling as it will have been rather calm until then. Tension aside that is.
The Oak Room is a solid and intimate selection of bar tales that have some surprisingly dark twists and very well matter to one another. It’s quite an interesting experience, and one that should be mostly entertaining. It carries some good tension, some more aggressive moments and some rather intense combative moments that aren’t necessarily physical in nature.
It definitely left a lasting impression, as I wasn’t expecting such an intriguing structure to the narrative. It will surprise, bring some violence you may not anticipate. It was a bit tough to stay steady with it throughout, but it’s well worth the progression.
The Oak Room Review at Home with Streamed Viewing during Calgary Film Festival
Screening Provided by Calgary Film