Chris Eska gave us his quietly wondrous August Evening. That's a long time to wait for his next full-length feature, but at last it is upon us. THE RETRIEVAL, set in 1864 during the Civil War, it is all about betrayal -- of a specifically nasty sort. The film, along with (though not as good as) 12 Years a Slave, makes another fine bookend about the history of slavery here in the USA. It also points up the difference between a genuine, small-budget, indepen-dent movie and one like 12 Years, that is estimated to have had a budget of twenty million. Eska's film probably cost not even one-tenth of that. (A blockbuster like The Avengers -- boasting a budget of $220,000,000 -- ran up finances of more than ten times what McQueen's canny movie cost.)
Benjamin Murmelstein in Claude Lanzmann's recent documentary, along with other Jews who betrayed their own kind for money, or possible safety, or simply out of necessity during the Second World War.
Ashton Sanders, above, right), and Marcus, the adult with whom he works (Keston John, above, left) do the bidding of some very nasty bounty hunters, led by Burrell (Bill Oberst Jr., shown below).
Tishuan Scott, below) -- is filled with suspense and moral choice. "What if he was you?" asks the boy of his older compatriot. "Well, he ain't," comes back the immediate reply. So much for morality.
Film Forum, after which it will play Houston, Austin, Chicago and Los Angeles. Click here to see all currently scheduled playdates, cities, and theaters.