The Oak Room (2021)

Cody Calahan

Running Time: 89 Minutes

Certificate: 15

Starring: RJ Mitte, Peter Outerbridge, Ari Millen, Martin Roach

In the midst of a raging snowstorm, Steve (RJ Mitte) returns to the home town he left years ago. A risky prospect when he owes money to many people, yet he's intent on settling a debt with a bartender named Paul (Peter Outerbridge), offering a story which he believes is worth more than money.

Known best for his role in Breaking Bad, RJ Mitte portrays Steve, a drifter who previously abandoned his home and his family. He captures the characters cocksure attitude very well, balanced with the sorrow he tries to hide. His screen-time is largely shared with Paul, a sardonic bartender that's brought alive by a great Peter Outerbridge. He's bitter that Steve didn't return for his father's funeral, with the tension evident between the pair, as memories of the deceased haunts them both, and brings regrets with it.

Working off a screenplay by Peter Genoway, director Cody Calahan brings to screen a compelling story about men talking, as their histories loom over them. The premise may be simple, yet the ingenuity lies within the tales, each one revealing a little more about the people in the room, and granting a glimpse into their true intentions. It's an enthralling exercise, as characters play the part of storyteller, whilst attempting to read the person they're sharing the room with.

As the story reaches its conclusion, the last pieces fit into place, ensuring attentions are firmly held right up to the closing credits. In this tight 89-minute package, we've seen a tense tale that's ever undercut by its sense of humour. We've witnessed a gift for actors, offering them a showcase to give tremendous monologues. Most of all, this is an ice-cold thriller, where a person's most cutting item are their words.

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