Retrograde (2022) Poster

(III) (2022)

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This is beyond filmmaking.
santiagofdec15 December 2022
It is imperative that this film is seen, by any American, by any member of the human race. To be alive today and to not be aware that this is happening is a neglet that will shame us forever. The images in this film will be part of the history books. It is a shame that the mainstream conversation is ignoring how important, how deeply necessary this film is. It is full of emotion, full of complexity, the filmmaker's courage and dedication to bring this to the screen is an act to be marveled at... It is overwhelming. If by the end of the film you are not struck with a deep confusion about the nature of war, I might lose all hope in humanity.
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there is a threshold...
ops-5253514 January 2023
On how much adrenaline, cortisol and all the other neurotransmittors that tell you to get the heck out of where you are, that you can cope with...when sitting safe and sound in a cosy sofaenvironment in your own kashbah somewhere west of kabul, before you get so numb and awshocked by the defeat and depression in those ishfahanious afghan eyes, trying to get out of the home of terror and in many cases a surtain death...

i do understand the giant leaps in this production, if they tried to film it all , then the probability letting you watch this production wouldve been near zero, cause this is war correspondency at a higher level...

politially i think the u.s. Government did leave loads of troops behind, not the u.s ones, but all the collaborators within the afghan society. The desperation and dire straites evacuating head over heels they blame on, but all this couldve been planned and accuated a long time before vanishing the grounds of taliban...

the grumpy old man recommends.
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From Hope to Heartbreak to Despair
andretoth12 December 2022
Warning: Spoilers
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.
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"Retrograde" offers a poignant look at the human cost of war in Afghanistan.
FilmFanatic20239 December 2022
"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.
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Very different from what I was expecting, and very good
paul-allaer22 December 2022
As "Retrograde" (2022 release; 96 min) opens, we are at "Kabul Airport, August 2021", and the Afghan authorities have trouble keeping a large crowd under control. We then go to "8 Months Earlier" to Camp Shorab, in rural Afghanistan. The US Commander of Special Forces emphasizes that "We're in this together". We then are introduced to an Afghan Commander named Sadat, who is one of the top guys in the Afghan military... At this point we are 10 min into the movie.

Couple of comments: this is the latest film from well-respected documentarian Matthew Heineman ("Cartel Land", "The First Wave"). Here is looks back at the 8 months leading to the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, creating a human tragedy along the way. I was expecting that this would focus on the messy and catastrophic last few weeks (not unlike, say, that other recent documentary "Escape From Kabul"). While "Retrograde" touches on it both at the very beginning and in the last 15 min., the movie 's primary focus is in fact on how the Afghan military is anxiously preparing for the withdrawal of US troops. We all know thow that went down. But the seemingly unfettered access granted to the film makers allow for a fascinating and nuanced view, as we follow Sadat and watch the increasingly desperate atmosphere. In that sense, "Retrograde" is the perfect companion documentary to "Escape From Kabul", with very little overlap and great insight on what really happened in those final months. I think you may be surprised at what you will find...

"Retrograde" premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in early September to immediate critical acclaim. There is good reason why it currently is rated 93% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie started streaming on Hulu a few days ago, where I caught it. If you have any interest in geo-political events or particularly in Afghanistan, I'd readily suggest you check this out, and draw your own conclusion.
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maxdavid-00725 December 2022
Warning: Spoilers
This is the behind the scene set during the final defeat of the American participation in Afghanistan. As a ex British soldier one generation removed from this intense episode. It really resonated with me. The sheer waste of humanity and billions of dollar's spent. Is heart breaking. Unbelievable that the Taliban wearing flip flops and carrying a rusty AK47 beat the USA. Its the first time that we are with the green berets special forces in a O group meetings. You can see the drawn and pained faces of these men. As they are told the US is pulling out. Their thoughts of years of deployments and friendships with their afghan comrades is clear to see. The sacrifice in blood and treasure paid by their departed buddies is on their minds. The fighting spirit from this young general is broken. After the announcement of the pull out. You see his confidence erode. He cant seem to gather his soldiers together. Totally out of his depth. The frustration of his older officers is clear. But you sense that the many years of clear corruption is in some part responsible. If you don't believe in your leaders or they have no respect for the common soldier Then the seeds of defeat are sown. There are many moments that stick out. A US soldier using a sledge hammer to destroy photo copy machines. So they don't fall into the hands of the Taliban. But leave thousands of weapons and ammunition. Let alone multi million dollar helicopters and vehicles. The hapless boy general playing relentlessly on his phone. Issuing orders on a Samsung mobile. As the high tech reccon and CCTV balloons are deflated above his base by the Americans. Leaving the Afghan military with no air cover or support. Gone within days. Never to return.
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Deeply painful on a personal level
jensbob30 January 2023
Warning: Spoilers
My relationship to Afghanistan and the US engagement there is a deeply foundational one for me as a person. I graduated West Point right before 9/11 and overnight reality went from looking at a career where some shorter deployments might have happened to one where warzones would become a major part of my life.

What's most painful when thinking about Afghanistan, and something this movie illustrates very clearly is how badly we let so many people down due to how we left. Closest to hear are all the soldiers, interpreters, informants, and others who directly assisted us. I can't go into details, but I ended up in a position where, much like the Green Berets in the movie I was deeply involved in the efforts to prepare the Afghans to be able to defend themselves and many of the men I interacted with became personal friends, most of whom I don't know what happened to, and in the cases I do know, I would rather not. Not because almost all of them are dead, but because most of them died badly.

But there's also others. There are the US and Coalition soldiers who died, all the way from men under my command, to close personal friends all the way back to Academy. One of my best friends lost both his legs, one eye and is almost deaf, a you female lieutenant who I mentored over a long time spends the rest of her life in a wheelchair after her back was broken. And then there are all those who never came home.

Finally it's the rest of the Afghan people, and I'm thinking specifically of the women. I recall the almost disbelieving joy of so many young women when we first drove the Talibans away and I watched over the years how girls who had earlier at best only to hope they were married off to a man that wasn't to unkind to where they could now dream of becoming teachers, doctors, writers and so on. And now, predictably, it's all being reversed at express speed, where women can now no longer attend any school after elementary school.

Of course there's also the billions of dollars spent. For what? When Biden gave his speech announcing the withdrawal he made it sound like getting Bin Ladin was what we came for. That's insulting to pretty much the entire effort. To me, all the people I mentioned above where betrayed. They made sacrifices, often the ultimate one, for nothing.

This movie is a monument over this betrayal and the waste. It's beautiful photography and score emphasizes the story of increasing desperation and hopelessness, where at the point the movie begins, 8 months before the withdrawal, there is hope, and the young general protagonist is confident, and he was probably right to be. At that point, the war effort had lead to a situation where the Afghan forces could be effective with the support of just a few thousand lightly equipped US forces supporting them and no one in their right mind could have expected that achievement would be thrown away so flippantly. The moment the withdrawal becomes a fact you see the commander and the men shrinking back with the realization that it was all over.

The movie impresses with how close it has been able to take the viewers to the events, and capturing the feel of events to a point where it becomes difficult to watch because of the emotions it awakens. I can't recommend enough that everyone watches this.
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Can't agree that this is a 9/10
retrovtx19 February 2023
Warning: Spoilers
Obviously this is a human disaster of huge proportions, that's a given. But something occurred to me in the fairly early stages of the movie that continued to nag me throughout the entire film.

Mainly, I don't think I saw more than one native in the entire film who DIDN'T look like he was on the threshold of running or surrender. There is only one man, the general, who has any sort of fight or opposition in him. If my country and way of life were being threatened on a huge scale, I would expect to see fierce, angry faces eager to fight and protect ourselves. There would be patriotic men and women resisting to the last, not eagerly abandoning their country and their families. There's scene where the general goes to the front himself, and the crew he has with him displays no professionalism or discipline, no combat training, and they even had to be told "Get behind the tanks and walls for protection". What kind of troops of any level have to be told this? And they STILL all walk slowly and upright like they don't know any better. And as usual, every one of them has a "I'm going to run, I'm scared" look in their eyes. There were thousands of men and able bodied women, clamoring to get on the US base for evacuation, and none of them were willing to fight for their lives?

Were they so utterly dependent upon the US for their defense that in 20 years they received no training, no moral, no inspiration, and no willingness to defend their homes? They didn't even know how to supply themselves with ammunition. This film almost seems like propaganda sponsored by the general himself, to make himself out a hero. A good documentary should provide varied viewpoints and information. This one took a strange, singular view that I find suspicious. For this reason I rate it lower than everyone else. It seems that the film takes a very.
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