Where i Watched It: Disney Plus
English Audio Description?: Yes
This pull out of Afghanistan is becoming a hot bed for filmmakers. I already watched the documentary Escape From Kabul earlier this year, and now Retrograde looks to tell a very similar story. My problem here is that while I didn’t give Escape From Kabul a terribly high grade at the time, after watching Retrograde, it’s clearly the better documentary.
Escape From Kabul, which is available on HBO MAX, mostly focused on the clusterfuck at the actual airport. It got tons of insane footage, and had interviews with people who were there. Retrograde almost feels like they were already in the process of making a documentary, and then slowly shifted gears, or cobbled together the footage they had. It’s less obvious what the main throughline is for retrograde, which seems to want to do a bit of having and eating it’s cake.
Normally, I would have passed on this, but it is on the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary. So I wanted to form an opinion. It’s on Disney Plus, which is a bit odd considering its R rating, though children don’t watch documentaries. Because it has the backing of National Geographic, the audio description here is good, something that Disney Plus’s other Oscar hopeful The Territory lacks altogether.
If you are really big on documentaries about the pullout of Afghanistan and are collecting them like Pokémon, I guess you could watch Retrograde. But I have a feeling, there will be a lot more to say on this topic. In just a year, we got The Rescue, 13 Lives, and Thai Cave Rescue, all about the same event. A documentary, a feature film, and a limited series. This will follow that same pattern. Something better is coming.
Final Grade: C-