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Oak on the Outside

average rating is 3 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Aug 23, 2022

Film Reviews
Oak on the Outside
Directed by:
Adrian Roman
Written by:
Adrian Roman
Gaia Passaler, Brandon Scott Hughes, Julie Howell, Scott James, Treg Monty

A university psychologist goes to an isolated location, in order to provide therapy to a damaged war veteran.


Rebecca (Passaler) works in the Psychology Department of a university and believes that she has developed a new method that can help patients. Through Professor Graves (Monty), she is assigned to go to a ranch and provide treatment to Eli (Hughes), a man who has been deeply traumatised by his combat experience while he was in the military. While there, Rebecca also meets Skylar (Howell), a young girl who was once abducted and used as a sex slave and Colonel Beauregard (James), a quiet man who is in charge of the ranch. Initially, things are quiet and Rebecca fails to communicate with Eli. However, after a terrible incident, things change and she gets closer to him and also gets to know Skylar.


This feature starts off as a drama and as the story progesses, it develops into a romance and also a thriller. The main subject is the relationship between Rebecca and Eli, which is pretty much non-existent at first, as Eli refuses to talk about himself. After Rebecca goes through a devastating experience, the two of them start having strong feelings to wards each other that eventually lead to a romantic relationship. The screenplay also follows the interactions that Rebecca has with Julie and Beauregard, both of whom become friendlier towards her as time passes.


Although the movie begins with texts about child trafficking, giving the impression that is going to be the main theme, it actually is not. It is a subject that is present through Julie's character, yet most of all, this is a story about romance and about self-discovery and getting to know people.


Roman's script is dramatic and moving at times and contains interesting characters and an intriguing plot. There is a romantic and dark dream sequence that provides an insight into Rebecca's mind. The story is engaging enough, however it does run out of steam during the final third.


The acting is OK and Passaler leads the film well as a person who goes through significant character development. Hughes is convincing as a man who is suffering from his experiences in war and Howell does a decent job as a youngster with a traumatic past, who seems to be more mature than her age.


Roman's directing is satisfactory and includes establishing shots of nature and the sky. The editing, however, appears clumsy at times. The score is dramatic and beautiful and adds value to the feature.


This is a film that deals with very serious issues, including child trafficking and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is a dramatic love story (and partially a thriller) that shows how people can affect each other's lives. It reveals the emotional scars that are created by trauma and points out that with support, people can move forward.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Indie Feature Film
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