The Retrieval

Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: 1864: as war ravages the nation, on the outskirts of the Civil War business as usual continues for slave-owners and traders. Will, a fatherless 13 year-old boy, survives by working with a white bounty hunter gang who sends him to earn the trust of runaway slaves in order to lure them back to1864: as war ravages the nation, on the outskirts of the Civil War business as usual continues for slave-owners and traders. Will, a fatherless 13 year-old boy, survives by working with a white bounty hunter gang who sends him to earn the trust of runaway slaves in order to lure them back to the South. On a dangerous mission into the free North to find Nate, a fugitive freedman, things go wrong and Will and Nate find themselves on the run. As the bond between them unexpectedly grows, Will becomes consumed by conflicting emotions as he faces a gut-wrenching final decision. Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Mar 28, 2014
    90
    Equal parts suspenseful road movie, persuasively detailed period drama and emotionally resonant coming-of-age story, The Retrieval is an outstanding example of regional indie filmmaking accomplished with limited resources and an abundance of skill.
  2. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 24, 2014
    80
    It is indeed a beautiful film, but with each horizon tinged with sadness.
  3. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    May 15, 2014
    80
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    Apr 1, 2014
    75
    Despite its meager budget, The Retrieval is characterized by its authenticity. The dialogue and attitudes are persuasive in creating both a consistent psychology and a sense of the historical past, without ever lapsing into a flowery 19th century-ness.
  5. Reviewed by: Godfrey Cheshire
    Apr 3, 2014
    75
    More than any film in recent memory, The Retrieval made this reviewer yearn for the subtle softness and subliminal flicker of celluloid, as opposed to digital's sometimes overbearing brightness and clarity.
  6. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Apr 2, 2014
    75
    The film’s reckoning, when it comes, is fully as heartbreaking as it should be.
  7. Reviewed by: Clayton Dillard
    Mar 28, 2014
    50
    Less old-fashioned than demure and passé, evoking the visual style and rhythms of a 1990s made-for-TV movie rather than a daring, revisionist independent feature.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jun 4, 2015
    9
    Beautiful movie, great performance by Tishuan Scott and interesting depiction of the Civil War. I think this movie is so much better to manyBeautiful movie, great performance by Tishuan Scott and interesting depiction of the Civil War. I think this movie is so much better to many of the slavery-era films that have appeared lately, and it makes it a bigger achievement to know it was made with a low budget. Expand
  2. Dec 12, 2014
    6
    "The Retrieval", by Chris Eska is a Civil War drama that follows a two assistants of bounty hunters (Ashton Sanders and Keston John) as they"The Retrieval", by Chris Eska is a Civil War drama that follows a two assistants of bounty hunters (Ashton Sanders and Keston John) as they search for and bring back a man (Tishuan Scott) who killed some of their partners in crime. This is a great example of good low-budget film-making. The actors are all good and the story is very interesting. Tishuan Scott especially shines in this movie as the "victim" of the bounty hunters. It is a well-scripted movie that deals with great themes such as race, money, and compassion. However, with the low budget, the look of the film is not on par with the other elements. It has a very low-budge vibe throughout the movie. As the story flows, there are certain characters that don't really serve any purpose but to add sympathy. This is alright, but the movie glances over some of these moments and does not give enough time to show us the real drama behind it. As far as low-budget movies go, this is one of the better ones; but with a low-budget comes a few amateurish flaws. 6/10. Expand

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