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By Alan Ng | August 11, 2020

The power of film is its ability to draw us as a passive audience into the action of a scene. Brady Morell’s Retrieval draws us into his simple story and makes six short minutes feel like six long dreadful hours.

Inspired by Geoffrey Canada’s memoir “Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun,” Retrieval is the story of a single mother (Ashley A. Williams) and her two sons. As the boys arrive home after school, the youngest (Cameron James Elie) is missing his jacket. Earlier that day, a larger boy took it from him. Their mother tells the oldest son (Na’Jae Green) to get it back, and for the next several minutes, we wait with the mother and her youngest son at the dinner table as time passes…and passes… and passes.

“…the youngest is missing his jacket…mother tells the oldest son to get it back…”

Retrieval is an amazingly uncluttered story with simple production values. Writer/director Morell effectively creates tension and anxiety from the moment the older son walks out the door to the end with the aid of an ominous soundtrack, that you barely notice, and little story points, like police lights flashing in the window and a simple question of “would you like some water.”

Evoking emotion is what Retrieval does best, and you feel it.

Retrieval (2020)

Directed and Written: Brady Morell

Starring: Cameron James Elie, Na'Jae Green, Ashley A. Williams, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

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"…at the dinner table as time passes…and passes…and passes."

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