Escape From Kabul

Where I Watched It: HBo MAX

English Audio Description?: Yes

I feel like the pullout of the troops from Afghanistan is going to end up in more films and tv shows, but kicking this all off is Escape From Kabul. If you think I’m wrong, remind yourself that last year, we had the documentary The Resuce, about the effort to save the boys soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand. This year, we’ve had a film adaptation directed by Ron Howard, and then a Netflix limited series Thai Cave Rescue. All about in the span of a year.

Just this year, HBo MAX dropped a documentary about abortion called The janes, and currently in limited release is a narrative feature Call Jane. So, yeah, Hollywood will probably have lots of different people escaping Kabul.

As a starter documentary, this is pretty serious.It focuses heavily on the removal of troops, and all of the things that went wrong. it even seems to be able to get an interview with a member of the Taliban. It interviews soldiers at the base, and other people who were there that day. It seems absolutely horrific, if the audio description matches the visuals. The team here behind the film really managed to capture some devastating moments.

My only hesitation about the film is that it feels like a really long extended version of the middle of a longer film no one got to see. That other film had a beginning, I assume, explaining how we got here, and also an ending that shows what happened to those involved, was anyone held accountable, and other things we usually eat at the end of this type of film.

The closest comparison I can come up with recently was last years fantastic Attica, which managed to lead us into the event, show us the horrific encounter, and take us out of it by explaining how things changed after, or if anything ever actually did.

Like I said, this is really just about the removal of troops. it almost avoids explaining the before and after so it can remain neutral, without pointing any fingers. but, perhaps fingers needed to be pointed. If Kirby Dick or Michael moore had touched this film, you’d better be sure we would have pointed fingers all over the place.

But thanks in part to the daring work done by those filming the event, as well as those who heroically tried their best in an impossible situation, we do have a decent representation of the incident that screams neutrality, and uses the horrors of the situation to anger you. Anger you at whom, that’s any other question. Thanks to the terrific audio description, when bodies are trampled, and people die, you will not miss a beat.

Not my favorite documentary of the year, but really a pretty strong one.

Final Grade: B+

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