The Retrieval (2014)
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Critic Reviews for The Retrieval
The Retrieval's potency transcends its scope. It shows you, in microcosm, the sacrifices that forge the conscience not only of a boy, but of a nation.
"The Retrieval" comes at you like a haunting slip of a memory, one that writer-director Chris Eska retrieves from a mostly forgotten era in unforgettable ways.
It is indeed a beautiful film, but with each horizon tinged with sadness. If it was an Instagram filter, it would probably be called melancholy or something.
Low-budget period indies rarely inhabit their world as convincingly as does this drama, which is set in the South in 1864.
Audience Reviews for The Retrieval
Chris Eska made this period drama in a fashion which was very heavy on the viewer. Well acted from Ashton Sanders as Will, Tishuan Scott as Nate, Keston John as Marcus and Bill Oberst Jr. as Burrell, the story wasn't deep enough to keep me involved and satisfied. In 1864, as Civil war ravages the nation, but the slave-owners and traders, as well as bounty hunters keep working. The story follows Will, a fatherless 13 year-old boy, who survives by working with a white bounty hunter gang. He is a bite for runaway slaves in order to lure them back to the South. But, the last mission is the most dangerous one. Our heroes go into the free North to find Nate, a fugitive freedman. Things go wrong and Will and Nate find themselves on the run... I really wanted this to be a lot better. It's definitely not a bad film, but it did test my patience few times. It was evenly paced but there was not much originality in it. Solid directing, shallow script and nice photography.
"The Retrieval" starts in Virgnia in 1864 with young Will(Ashton Sanders) seeking shelter at a station on the Underground Railroad which turns out to actually be a ruse for Burrell(Bill Oberst Jr.), a bounty hunter he works for, to recapture escaped slaves. That night Will and his partner Marcus(Keston John) enjoy the profits of their labor. But not for long, as Burrell has another job for them in locating and returning Nate(Tishuan Scott), another escaped slave, with the threat of death hanging over them if they do not succeed. "The Retrieval" is a suspenseful and unpredictable period piece. As far as history goes, it conveys that also in naturalistic tones of an era where it is much more about survival than judgment for the characters. The nuanced tone leads to a movie where less is more, not only as far as dialogue is concerned, especially in its exquisite opening sequence. In any case, it is a little difficult to carve out some of the backstories amongst the deceptions and lies. At the center of which is Will seeking his lost father amongst surrogates at a personal and moral crossroads while the United States is at its own crossroads.
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