Afghanistan Withdrawal Documentary 'Retrograde' on Nat Geo, Disney Plus

Retrograde on Nat Geo and Disney Plus
(Image credit: Nat Geo)

Retrograde, a documentary about the U.S.’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, debuts on National Geographic December 8, then turns up on Disney Plus December 9.

Matthew Heineman directed the film.

Retrograde captures the final nine months of America's 20-year war in Afghanistan from multiple perspectives: one of the last U.S. Special Forces units deployed there; a young Afghan general and his corps fighting to defend their homeland; and the civilians desperately attempting to flee as the Taliban take over.

"From rarely seen operational control rooms to the frontlines of battle to the chaotic Kabul airport during the final US withdrawal, this film offers a cinematic and historic window onto the end of America’s longest war, and the costs endured for those most intimately involved," according to Nat Geo.

A review in The Guardian said the film offers an "extraordinary insider's view" of the withdrawal.

"Acclaimed documentary maker Matthew Heineman is known for his remarkable ability to stay close to subjects caught up in dangerous situations – be those fighting the drug trade in Latin America (Cartel Land), defying ISIS occupation (City of Ghosts), or struggling to care for the sick during the COVID pandemic (The First Wave)," the review reads. "This latest feature-length chronicle lays out an extraordinary insider’s view of the last months of the United States’ war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, as seen from the point of view of the last Green Berets supporting the Afghan army led by Gen Sami Sadat."

Retrograde is rated R. Caitlin McNally produced the film, and Baktash Ahadi, David Fialkow, Joedan Okun and Carolyn Bernstein are the executive producers.

Heineman previously worked on Showtime’s opioid docuseries The Trade and HBO’s Tiger Woods documentary Tiger. ■

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.