"What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?"
What You Need To Know:
GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT is a realistic look into the war between the U.S. and Taliban in Afghanistan. It has a powerful message about moral duty, sacrifice, patriotism, and standing up for what’s right no matter the cost. However, the movie does contain intense war violence and lots of strong foul language. The violence is realistic, but not excessively gory. Ultimately, GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT is a powerful movie that deals with the ideas of freedom, morality and promises in a compelling, unique way. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT follows the story of US Army Sergeant John Kinley and his new Afghan interpreter, Ahmed, who establish a strong relationship while on a mission and, afterwards, Kinley, must return to Afghanistan to rescue Ahmed and his family. GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT is a powerful movie that tackles themes of freedom, patriotism and, as the title suggests, the moral duty to keep promises no matter the cost, but it has intense war violence and more than 25 strong obscenities and profanities.
The story follows a US Army Sergeant named John Kinley who leads a small group of men to seek out and destroy weapon caches and bomb building sites used by the Taliban across Afghanistan. After his interpreter dies in an explosion, Kinley is appointed a new interpreter named Ahmed.
Kinley is unsure of Ahmed after Ahmed ignores his orders in negotiating with a member of the Taliban for information. He makes Ahmed swear that he’ll never subvert his authority again. Ahmed agrees, but the tension between Kinley and Ahmed continues to grow.
After getting a lead about two locations where the Taliban is suspected to be building IED’s, Kinley and his men head out to do routine checks. Shortly before they leave, one of Kinley’s men says they should take a different route to the location due to flooding blocking the road. However, Ahmed discovers this is a trap and only by his warning are Kinley and his men saved.
They soon set out toward the second location, which is a dangerous three-hour drive from their base. Once they arrive, they immediately find weapons, and the Taliban are alerted that the US Army has found one of their bomb building sites. Kinley and Ahmed are the only ones to escape the initial onslaught, and they are forced to run into the Afghanistan wilderness while the Taliban are hot on their heels.
Eventually, the Taliban catch up with Kinley and Ahmed. They have been ordered to take them both alive, but the Taliban shoot Kinley twice. However, Ahmed catches them unaware and again they escape capture. With Kinley on the verge of death, Ahmed must make the trek across miles of Taliban-controlled desert, back to their base. However, after many close encounters with death, Kinley goes home to the US and sees his family while Ahmed and his family stay in hiding in Afghanistan.
The tale of Ahmed’s heroic rescue of Kinley spreads, and the price on his head rises. Kinley vows he will help Ahmed and his family, no matter the cost, even if it means returning to Afghanistan.
GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT is a compelling military drama that champions patriotism, standing up for good in the face of evil, self-sacrifice, and freedom. As the story unfolds with Kinley and Ahmed, the movie gives an accurate, realistic portrayal of the US’s fight with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Through the story of Ahmed, Guy Ritchie sheds light on the reality for hundreds of interpreters and their families who were left to fend for themselves against the Taliban after President Biden’s shameful, disorganized military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, 2021. The movie explores sacrifice, moral duty, patriotism, and freedom through the lens of Kinley and Ahmed and their incredible story of resilience in the face of evil.
The movie is carried by great performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim, who exemplify the fight for good over evil despite their circumstances. Filled with a sense of duty and fulfilling his debt to Ahmed, Kinley sacrifices everything he loves for the sake of Ahmed’s family. Likewise, Ahmed sacrifices his life and his family’s safety to save Kinley.
Guy Ritchie accomplishes a great work with THE COVENANT, balancing a compelling and unique military story with the reality of real world events. Ritchie doesn’t rely on excessive violence or shock and awe, but rather the compelling themes of sacrifice and resilience to honor the lives of veterans and encourage viewers to think. While it’s clear that Ritchie is offering commentary on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, it’s done with empathy and pristine storytelling that doesn’t neglect the nuance of the situation. It celebrates service rather than war, sacrifice rather than violence, and serves as a starting point to show compassion and honor to interpreters who still face the horrors of the Taliban today.
Despite its strong foul language and realistic violence, MOVIEGUIDE® commends Ritchie for crafting a balanced, moral, compelling movie that will encourage audiences to take action against evil and stand up for what is right. Extreme caution is advised for the strong foul language in GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT.
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