In 2019, Sergeant John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal) was leading a special unit of soldiers in Afghanistan who were there to discover ammunition and explosive sites. After a tragic explosion occurs at a routine checkpoint, John is provided with a new Afghan interpreter of his choice. Out of the five men available, John interviews and appoints Ahmed (Dar Salim) as the leading interpreter. Feeling exhausted and annoyed from checking various locations with no leads, John is glad to be given a list of possible suspects and leads. One of the leads may help determine where IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) are being made.
John, Ahmed, and the entire unit begin to investigate and discover more strong intel, including the locations of active sites and possible hidden weaponry. But as the unit continues its journey, Ahmed suspects they’re about to enter an ambush. Thanks to Ahmed, the lives of John and his fellow men are saved, but sadly, there’s a new game in play from the enemy, and now John and Ahmed find themselves in even more danger. John and Ahmed end up on the run and being hunted by heavily armed men.
Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant is best described as a war film with some moments of gripping action and minor thriller aspects. Instantly, this film is very different from some of his recent projects. Here, the film is gritty, tense and highly dramatic from start to finish, so if you’re expecting a fast-paced movie with witty one-liners like Snatch or The Gentlemen, you could be in for a significant surprise. Once again, Guy Ritchie brings a film that looks and sounds incredible. Moments of drama are captured wonderfully, and gunfire, action, or general scenery are also impressive. The extreme long shots and aerial footage are fantastic, immersing viewers in the situations and the war zone.
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal is tremendous and no stranger to featuring in drama and war films. At first, the character of John comes across as being direct and sarcastic due to his frustration with trying to do his job and do it well. When John is in trouble, he’s tense and professional but still convincing and likeable. The interpreter, Ahmed, is a mysterious character to begin with. Viewers will question whether he’s telling the truth or attempting to endanger John and his fellow men. A strong aspect of the film is the unlikely bond that grows stronger between these characters, even more so when Ahmed goes to great lengths and risks his own life to protect the sergeant.
Overall, fans of Director and Writer Guy Ritchie will find this is a different film from some of his previous work. Here, we have a war film that is significantly impacting due to its true story and themes that are still relevant today. You can feel Ritchie’s passion for sharing this story with the world. Once again, Ritchie’s filming is visually stunning. Performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim are excellent. While their bond is slow in developing, their friendship feels genuine the more the film progresses. The many action moments and character deaths are impacting, and the entire war zone feels gritty and realistic. Despite the second act of the film feeling longer than preferred, Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant is a solid film with intense levels of drama and entertainment.
Guy Richie’s The Covenant (2023) is Available on Prime Video Australia from June 16th.