Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic 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: 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Apr 24, 2014
    80
    It is indeed a beautiful film, but with each horizon tinged with sadness.
  4. Reviewed by: Andrew Frisicano
    Apr 1, 2014
    80
    Along the way, director Chris Eska provides ample space for his principals to breathe, wisely homing in on the uneasy gaze of the guidance-starved Will, whose struggle will resonate with anyone charged with an unenviable task.
  5. Reviewed by: Justin Lowe
    Mar 28, 2014
    80
    Leveraging limited resources to impressive effect, writer-director Chris Eska’s empathetic scripting and well-tuned casting reliably guide The Retrieval’s memorable trajectory.
  6. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Apr 30, 2014
    78
    Although Eska’s story is fairly simple (and created prior to "12 Years a Slave"" and "Django Unchained," which made slavery-era films part of our contemporary dialogue), it’s an emotionally rich tale.
  7. 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.
  8. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Apr 2, 2014
    75
    The film’s reckoning, when it comes, is fully as heartbreaking as it should be.
  9. 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.
  10. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Apr 1, 2014
    70
    Mr. Eska’s choices are thoughtful if sometimes studied: the movie is well cast with solid performers, and if the handsome digital images look overly sharp, as if outlined in razor, he consistently makes the most of his limited resources.
  11. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Apr 1, 2014
    70
    While The Retrieval’s sense of place may ultimately be stronger than its sense of purpose, it works as the story of a young boy realizing his agency, and it galvanizes as the story of an independent filmmaker realizing another portion of his medium’s infinite potential.
  12. 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.

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