Andrea’s Angle | “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant” – Fulfills Promise


When I saw the trailers for this film, it looked promising. I also happen to like Guy Ritchie’s style of filmmaking, but he is known more for fast-paced, fun action films. This promised to be a more serious drama, so I wondered how his style would blend with the premise of the movie. With a stellar cast, including Jake Gyllenhaal, that delivers brilliant performances, blended with the quick-paced action Guy Ritchie is known for, this film fulfills the promise of a gritty and real drama that also shines a light on a true problem for those in Afghanistan who helped the United States military. The film is authentic, and the drama is one of Guy Ritchie’s best films.

Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant is an action thriller co-written, co-produced, and directed by Guy Ritchie. The film focuses on the War in Afghanistan, where U.S. Army Sergeant John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal) recruits Ahmad (Dar Salim) to interpret with local Afghans for his team during their missions. Ahmad agrees as the Taliban killed his son, and he wants revenge. During a confrontation with the Taliban, the team is taken off guard, Kinley is knocked out, and Ahmad rescues him from his captors, leading him across the desert to safety. However, when Kinley goes back home, Ahmad and his family are hunted by the Taliban. When U.S. authorities fail to respond and issue Ahmad a special visa, John must come up with a way to rescue his friend himself before it is too late. The film also stars Antony Starr, Emily Beecham as John Kinley’s wife, and Jonny Lee Miller.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Sgt. John Kinley in GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT, directed by Guy Ritchie, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Christopher Raphael / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Part of what makes this film resonate with me so much is the detail, particularly the military aspects. From the ranking, master sergeant to the weapons the soldiers use, there is attention to detail that ensures that the film feels authentic. Even the dialogue between the soldiers feels real, as they joke between missions but are deadly serious in a firefight. The soldiers use signals that are believable and add to the tension. When they are searching for weapons in town, they disguise themselves. Every action is realistic. I think those who were and are in the military will appreciate that aspect of the film. I appreciate the moments of humor between John Kinley and Ahmad as well.

Dar Salim as Ahmed in GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT, directed by Guy Ritchie, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Christopher Raphael / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What really works well is that Guy Ritchie combines his ability to create fast-paced action with serious drama. When Kinley and Ahmad are on the run, the pacing and tension are almost perfect. You are wrapped up and on the edge of your seat, seeing if they will survive. The firefights add to the action and the thrill of what’s on screen. And when Ahmad is struggling to escape the Taliban, the action comes together in a brilliant resolution that, while a tiny bit predictable, is incredibly satisfying. While this might be more dramatic, this action thriller has enough to keep fans sated. I really like that the film addresses a very real situation in Afghanistan, with interpreters and translators left to fend for themselves despite the promises of the United States government. The film does an excellent job of sharing that very real problem.

The performances shine. Jake Gyllenhaal’s portrayal is emotional and believable, a powerful performance that enhances the story and the action. The dynamic between him and his co-star Dar Salim who plays Ahmad, is strong and authentic. The chemistry between them is part of what makes the film so riveting. Dar Salim is brilliant in his performance as Ahmad, portraying the character as quick-witted, intelligent, and knowledgeable, as well as a warm, loving husband. While the secondary characters are not developed as much, the actors still bring us rich, believable performances.

(L to R) Dar Salim as Ahmed, Jason Wong as Joshua “JJ Jung”, Jake Gyllenhaal as Sgt. John Kinley, Christian Ochoa as Eduardo “Chow Chow” Lopez, and Rhys Yates as Tom “Tom Cat” Hancock in GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT, directed by Guy Ritchie, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Christopher Raphael / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The strength of the film is the lead actors. While the secondary characters are played by actors that are excellent, the characters themselves are not well developed. While that is not necessary for creating a gritty and realistic movie, the characters could have used more depth. The film has some predictable moments, but overall, even with those slight flaws, the film is engaging with gritty drama and thrilling action. It truly fulfills the promise in the trailers.

If you like Guy Ritchie, do expect this new film to be different in some ways from his previous films. But what I loved is that he still blends his trademark riveting action with thrilling drama, realistic details, and excellent performances by Jake Gyllenhaal, Dar Salim, and the rest of the cast. The film will keep you on the edge of your seat, and the resolution is the perfect ending. Even better, the film shines a light on a true situation in Afghanistan that truly needs to be addressed, particularly by the United States Government. Perhaps this film will lead to changes. But whether it does or not, it is a phenomenal story that was completely engaging.

4.5 out of 5 special visas.

Official Website: The Covenant | Official Website | April 21 2023
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Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant

Genre: Action/Thriller

GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT follows US Army Sergeant John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Afghan interpreter Ahmed (Dar Salim). After an ambush, Ahmed goes to Herculean lengths to save Kinley’s life. When Kinley learns that Ahmed and his family were not given safe passage to America as promised, he must repay his debt by returning to the war zone to retrieve them before the Taliban hunts them down first.
GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT opens exclusively in theaters nationwide on April 21, 2023.

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