|The Retrieval (2013) is the touching story of a boy's search for a father figure during the final years of the U.S. Civil War (1864). Living with his unkind uncle, Marcus (Keston John), young Will (Ashton Sanders) works as a bounty hunter for a man named Burrell (Bill Oberst, Jr.) infiltrating stops along the Underground Railroad to capture escaped slaves. The uncle and nephew are then tasked with capturing a freeman, Nate (Tishuan Scott), wanted for murder. In Nate, Will finds the father he has been searching for.
The Retrieval (92 minutes) features violence (non-gratuitous), mild profanity, and no sex. Although officially rated R in the United States, it is safe for high school classroom use. This film (winner of numerous awards) accurately depicts life in the United States at this time, with no glaring historical anomalies. Set during the Civil War, there are images of an encampment as well as of a skirmish. Click here to see the official movie poster. Click here to purchase.
Film Creators and Stars: Alan Berg, Alfonso Freeman, Ashton Sanders, Bill Oberst, Jr., Caroline Karlen, Chris Eska, Christine Horn, Jacob Esquivel, Jason Wehling, Jon Attwood, Jonathan Brooks, Keston John, Matthew Wiedemann, Raven Ledeatte, Sibyl Avery Jackson, Tishuan Scott, Tom Borders, Yasu Tanida.
Review and Discussion Questions: (1) How do Marcus and Will earn a living? (2) How do Marcus and Will coerce Nate to accompany them to the South? (3) With whom did Nate have a romantic relationship? (4) Why is Burrell after Nate? (5) Why did Nate kill a man six years earlier? (6) How and why is Will wounded in the thigh? (7) Imagine that you are Will. What might you do differently?
Vocabulary Terms and Names: battlefield, bounty hunter, Civil War, Federals, kinfolk, retrieval, runaway, Underground Railroad.