Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Cody Calahan/Peter Genoway's tale-within-a-tale, THE OAK ROOM, hits theaters and VOD

If you're a fan of smart storytelling, especially of  a tale-within-a-tale-within-a-tale, THE OAK ROOM, the new Canadian film from director Cody Calahan and writer Peter Genoway, might do a lot more than merely float your boat.

Beginning with a bar and a bit of a heard-but-not-seen rumpus, then a late-night appearance, the past, money owed, and a tale about a tale, we're maybe already one-third through the new film when all this is beginning to look a lot like mere vamping. Yet this is being handled

well enough -- in the writing, directing and acting -- that we're more than willing to go along. 

Director Calahan (shown at left) and writer Genoway fill their film with enough clever visual and verbal clues and repetitions -- everything from that bar and a beer bottle to a wrist watch, wet shoes, cold feet and even class difference -- that the stories grow deeper and more serious as they move along. 

Simultaneously, the movie fills with slowly accumulating menace, leading to an outburst that  arrives as a penultimate event, rather than a finale. 

In retrospect, TrustMovies suspects you'll find  the storytelling here pretty remarkable and The Oak Room itself a surprisingly interesting and engaging piece of filmmaking.

The small cast is made up of a half-dozen men, with each character particularly well-drawn and -acted, and three of these six guys offering change and surprise along the way.

I'll not go into the "who, what and why"  to avoid the usual spoilers, but I will list these fine actors: Ari Millen (three photos up), RJ Mitte (two photos above) and Peter Outerbridge (just above) take the lead roles with utter panache, 

while super support arrives via Nicholas Campbell (above), Martin Roach (below), and David Ferry. Who these characters are and what they want is revealed slowly and cleverly, keeping us ever on our toes and thinking that we've now got things all figured out. Not quite.

Even as the final credits roll, you'll still be mulling it all around in your mind, piecing together the fragments still missing. For those who enjoy story-telling, puzzles, mysteries and the kind of suspense and uneasiness that build ever so gradually, The Oak Room should satisfy in a myriad of ways.

From Gravitas Ventures and running just 89 minutes, the movie hit a few theaters along with VOD just last weekend, Friday, April 2. Click here to see the various digital venues on which you can view the film. 

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