Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant

This was a movie that I was not anxious to see. I was not that interested in the film from the trailers and it looked to be longer than I wanted, but it fit into the schedule and I always enjoy Jake Gyllenhaal so I decided to give it a chance.

I am so glad that I did, because I found this movie thrilling and suspenseful throughout.

Sgt. John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal) led a battalion of U.S. Army soldiers in the search for explosives through Afghanistan in 2018. When their interpreter was killed in a bombing, John recruited Ahmed (Dar Salim), a local who needed money for his pregnant wife and the offer of a Visa to America.

Ahmed showed himself to be very capable, not only in his interpreting skills, but also his common sense and his knowledge of the Afghan world. However, after an ambush that led not nearly the entire unit being slaughtered, Ahmed had to get the injured John back to his base by dragging him through the mountains of Afghanistan while being pursued by the Talban.

When John awakens in the hospital struggling to remember how he got there, he learns that Ahmed and his family had gone into hiding because of the dangers of the Taliban. Feeling the bond with him, John was determined to return to find Ahmed and to get him out of the country.

There felt like there were two distinct movies here. The first half was the whole in Afghanistan film that saw John and Ahmed working together and carrying out the unit’s mission. This was not just a small bit of the story. It was a heavy section of the film. The second part of the story was John back home trying to obtain a Visa for Ahmed’s family, and hi subsequent return to Afghanistan.

Neither part of the movie was skimped upon and they both worked extremely well. The first half included some amazing action sections and showed what a heroic character Ahmed was. The second part was driven by John’s covenant with Ahmed and John’s guilt-riddled desire to save the man who had, quite literally, saved his life by hauling him back to safety.

I found this amazingly tense and suspenseful. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, especially the section where Ahmed was dragging a semi-conscious John across Afghanistan and the tense action of the ending. Even with a potential deus ex machina, the ending firefight was amazing.

Jake Gyllenhaal is exceptional as he always is. Even if he is in a bad movie, Gyllenhaal always brings his best effort. The bond between Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim was very pronounced and Salim looked to fit on the screen opposite Gyllenhaal. Salim was extremely likable and was so easy to root for.

Guy Ritchie does a fantastic job as the director of this movie, setting up action scenes beautifully and doing am admirable job with the characters.

I really enjoyed this movie. It was long, but I thought it moved fairly well. They did not rush through anything and the flow was good. Gyllenhaal and Salim are epic and the story created a ton of suspense for me. It was very gripping.

4.4 stars

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