GUY RITCHIE’S THE COVENANT – Review by Susan Granger

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Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant is an odd title but it serves to differentiate this R-rated, contemporary war actioner from previous horror and/or religious films bearing the same name. It’s also a thematic departure for the British writer/director best known for his glibly gritty, gangster shoot-‘em-ups.

Prologue text explains how the U.S. military recruited 50,000 translators/interpreters to assist soldiers on the ground during the 20-year Afghan occupation; in return, the U.S. promised Special Immigrant Visas for them and their families.

When Sgt. John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal), who heads a Special Ops squad assigned to locate and destroy Taliban munitions storehouses, needs a new interpreter, he chooses Ahmed (Dar Salim), a former mechanic fluent in four languages.

In the past, Ahmed dealt heroin with his brother but – after the Taliban killed his son – his loyalty shifted. Besides, his wife is pregnant and he needs the money.

Although originally skeptical, Kinley comes to trust intuitive Ahmed, who is determined to save him when Kinley is grievously wounded in a firefight. Single-handedly dodging Taliban trucks, resourceful Ahmed hauls injured Kinley across the mountains to the safety of Bagram Airfield.

Kudos to cinematographer Ed Wild and editor James Herbert for capturing this harrowing journey through treacherous terrain – with the landscape of Alicante, Spain substituting for Afghanistan.

Kinley was then flown home, but when the U.S. abruptly withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021, most of the loyal interpreters were left stranded, becoming prime targets for Taliban reprisals.

In his heart, PTSD-afflicted Kinley knew he had a moral obligation to return to the war zone, find resilient Ahmed and his family, and bring them to the United States. But the bureaucratic ‘red tape’ that hampered this rescue was almost insurmountable.

Written by Guy Ritchie with Ivan Atkinson & Marn Davies with a propulsive score by Christopher Benstead, this action thriller points an accusatory finger at broken covenants made by the United States government.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant is a strategically shameful 7, streaming on Prime Video.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.