This interesting and intelligent film focuses on a minimally highlighted slice of slavery’s abhorrent effects, and the Civil War (1861—65), in North America.
1864. Thirteen- years- old, fatherless, and working for a bounty hunter, “Will” (marvelous, insightful performance by Ashton Sanders) is sent to find freedmen and runaway slaves; “Burrell” (pungently evil depiction by Bill Oberst, Jr.) rules with killing cruelty, eliminating obstinacy, disobedience with a single shot; Will is sent North to clandestinely retrieve “Nate” (Tishuan Scott gives a stunning, memorable portrayal) a freedman, who has been massively abused by the system (reminiscent of “12 Years a Slave”). The bond between Will and Nate poses monumental consequences; Nate’s kindness and sensitivity challenge Will’s conscience and moral code; friendship, respect inform the narrative and heart of “The Retrieval”.
There have been countless movies revolving around the macrocosm of the war that bisected our country; thousands of dead soldiers, destroyed, raped civilians; the obliteration of a civilization that should never have been. “The Retrieval” is a pecan, a microcosm, a succinct vignette of two men, who in a normal world, would have lived harmoniously side by side.
Unfortunately, this jewel of a movie will slip unceremoniously into the archives of unwatched treasures; Director Chris Eska should be applauded for a tale, poignantly realistic; a story ripping the scars off faded memories, resonating with the naked truth of a blighted, poisoned episode in our history; it was the “worst of times” and should not be forgotten.