THE OLD OAK is a special place. Not only is it the last pub standing, but it’s also the only remaining public space where people can meet in a once thriving mining community that has now fallen on hard times after 30 years of decline. TJ Ballantyne (Dave Turner) the landlord hangs on to The Old Oak by his fingertips, and his predicament is endangered even more when the pub becomes contested territory after the arrival of Syrian refugees who are placed in the village without any notice.
In an unlikely friendship TJ meets a curious young Syrian Yara [Ebla Mari] with her camera. Can they find a way for the two communities to understand each other? So unfolds a deeply moving drama about their fragilities and hopes.
Empire – “The Old Oak is a vintage example of the 87-year-old filmmaker’s fixations: it is a gritty, gruelling drama and a paean to the labour movement, to community spirit and working-class pride.” (full review here)
Indiewire – “The chemistry between Turner and Mari leads to a relationship rarely seen in cinema: a platonic friendship between an older man and a younger woman born of mutual respect.” (full review here)
The Irish times – “The film is astute in its depiction of a disenfranchised community, ravaged by vulture property speculators and post-industrialisation.” (full review here)