Documentary / History / War

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Uploaded by: FREEMAN
December 13, 2022 at 03:28 PM

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887.94 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
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1.78 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ChatGPT 9 / 10

"Retrograde" offers a poignant look at the human cost of war in Afghanistan.

"Retrograde" is a deeply moving and powerful film that offers an intimate look at the human cost of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The film's focus on the faces of those affected by the conflict allows viewers to see the suffering, tension, and desperation of the people on the ground. The film follows a group of Green Berets as they prepare to leave their base in the Helmand Province, and focuses on the struggles of Commander Sami Sadat as he continues the fight against the Taliban after the American withdrawal. The film is beautifully shot and features a haunting score that adds to the overall sense of mourning and loss. Overall, "Retrograde" is a poignant and thought-provoking film that is not to be missed.

Reviewed by andretoth 9 / 10

From Hope to Heartbreak to Despair

I wasn't sure where this documentary would take me when I started watching. Like most Americans, I had a sense that the whole process of ending the US's longest war, from the initial deal struck with the Taliban to leave by the Trump administration to the catastrophic execution of that decision by the Biden administration, was poorly conceived, ill-fated, and ultimately nothing short of a humanitarian disaster. But I didn't really understand the price paid by those there-- by the Afghan forces under Gen. Sadat, by the last vestiges of coalition forces, and primarily by the Afghan people. It's a price they continue to pay, as women continue to be further marginalized to roles essentially consisting of cooks, cleaners, and caretakers and carriers of children.

By default, I have a healthy skepticism of the narratives presented to me by governments, by media, by institutions of journalism. These groups and entities have consistently let those of us who rely on them for truth, honesty, transparency, and hope down in big ways, primarily by prioritizing the interests of those who would enrich them rather than serving the public good. But this documentary, without ever taking a single stance on whether this war was just or not, whether the decision to withdraw was appropriate or not, whether the final days were a travesty, or not, lays bare the horrific human cost that after 20 years of war will have been for nothing and the horrific human cost that for the next 20 years will continue to rob an entire people of their full potential. I say all this with a distinctly Western, secular perspective that many might not think applies to the peoples and culture of Afghanistan, but I challenge anybody to watch the final 15 minutes of this documentary and tell me that the people of Afghanistan will gladly submit to life under Taliban rule as a better alternative to the inter-Taliban period.

Reviewed by seanmoconnor92 8 / 10

Perhaps the year's most cinematic (and sobering) documentary

If filmmakers like Paul Greengrass (United 93, Captain Phillips) strive to create narrative films that feel like documentaries, Matthew Heineman's intention with Retrograde seems to be creating a documentary that feels closer to a narrative film.

From very early on, General Sami Sadat is clearly established as a "protagonist" in this story, the camera is steady, the sound design is intentionally layered, and the use of interview footage (or at least subjects talking to an off-camera interviewer) is sparse compared to observational footage of conversations and events.

For a film about U. S. troops leaving Afghanistan in 2021 and the aftermath that ensued, using cinematic techniques like these is perhaps necessary to convey to audiences the drama of the situation. At times, however, this--arguably the film's greatest strength--also feels like its primary weakness.

Does a cinematic documentary like Retrograde dramatize these events so as to manipulate whether or not they feel true, or at least unrehearsed? Do certain moments of suspiciously smooth camerawork, as well as at least one instance of a soldier saying something to Sadat that does not quite match his lips, risk making the film feel less believable?

(On the other hand, does the film's decision to--rightfully--avoid showing certain events in its third act, such as the Kabul airport explosion, create an anti-climax based on the previously built suspense?)

Many documentaries like Retrograde wrestle with this conflict between realism and dramatization (and what those terms mean in the first place), and some may be bothered by this when watching the film.

The tragedy of these events, however, and the time the film spends conveying them (establishing in the first half the relationship between U. S. and Afghan troops, then watching the country's descent into Taliban takeover in the second half) makes the film an intense, thrilling watch--as well as a sobering reminder of the complexities of war.

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