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Release Date: 04/21/23 [Cinemas]
Genre: Action. Thriller.

Studio: MGM

"During the war in Afghanistan, a local interpreter risks his own life to carry an injured sergeant across miles of grueling terrain." 


Guy Ritchie's The Covenant, the second film in 2023 from the prolific director, Operation Fortune Rose de Guerre being the first, is a different type of offering from the typically dialogue-heavy macho movies the filmmaker is well renowned for. A war film taking place during the years of the War in Afghanistan, focusing on a US Army Sergeant and local interpreter who find themselves on a daunting journey for survival across a hellscape of Taliban seeking to capture them. While not a film in Ritchie's typical wheelhouse, he nonetheless delivers a profound film that is more about human beings, despite cultural barriers and war, fighting to survive and the bond formed as a result. 


Jake Gyllenhaal turns in an intense and grueling performance as Sergeant John Kinley. It's the kind of magnetic performance that the actor has shown time and time again that further proves how much he can bring to a film. As the film settles into its main storyline involving the arduous and harrowing trek across a great distance to get a wounded Sergeant Kinley back to a US military base alive. Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim's performances are gripping and fierce, which elevate the already suspenseful and terrifying reality of their predicament of being hunted by the Taliban - a great distance from safety. The performances provided by the film's two leads carry a lot of the movie's weight, however, it's the addition of proficient direction of Guy Ritchie and Christopher Benstead's howling and adrenaline-pumping score that are the driving force for why the film works as well as it does. Although the transition from the film's second act into the third is a bit rigid, one of the main issues found within Guy Ritchie's The Covenant is the empty and one-dimensional presentation of the opposing Taliban force. While it doesn't distract or negate the threat of their presence or the stakes of the story, it's enough that it affects the overall impact of the actions of its characters, and events in the film. Even a little time dedicated to adding more personality or characteristics of some of the story's antagonists would have pushed the movie further than it ultimately does. 


A clunky narrative transition, and one-dimensionality of the film's antagonists issues aside, what Guy Ritchie's The Covenant provides is an intense tour of the relationship between a US Army Sergeant and interpreter during the War in Afghanistan. Expertly displaying the fragility and worth of human life and lengths a person will go to and the risks taken to save another's life, regardless of cultural differences. The piercing yet vulnerable lead performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim carry more than their weight through the terrifying reality of the daily landscape during that period. Hellaciously shot and presented through the lens of Guy Ritchie. Guy Ritchie's The Covenant grabs you and takes you on its journey to hell and back. You'll be saluting the screen by the time the credits roll.

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