After the terrorist attacks in 2001, the US military started a decades-long occupation in Afghanistan that just recently ended in the last couple of years. Through the news and media, we’re often told the horror stories and the stories of honor that come from our soldiers’ perspective. But what is often ignored is the help received from local translators and more throughout the region. But in Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant, the new film by Guy Ritchie, this relationship is not only the focus of the film but is used to show the ongoing relationships and dedication that is owed to those who risked everything to help us.
Despite your personal feelings on the government’s involvement in Afghanistan, or what has happened since they left abruptly – The Covenant will give you a different perspective of just part of what was happening during our soldiers’ deployments. The movie follows Sergeant John, who on his last tour of duty in Afghanistan is teamed with local interpreter Ahmed. Together they’re looking for Taliban weapon factories and storage facilities, and while their job is dangerous – nothing prepares them for what is about to happen. After their whole team is virtually wiped out, John is injured to the point of near death, and Ahmed does everything he can to get John back to his base – including moving his lifeless body over 100 clicks back to base (approximately 62 miles). Both men are now being hunted through the mountainous terrain, and Ahmed is determined to get John back to safety.
The movie does focus a lot on the dangers to the team and of course, has a lot of violence and death throughout it. But one of the main focuses in the story is the risks to the interpreters and their families. Promised Visas and safety for them and their family for helping out our government, they are willing to go above and beyond to complete the job – but often were left to fend for themselves after we pulled out of the region. The very real consequences of military promises going unfulfilled are on full display in the movie.
While The Covenant does show how John is willing to honor his pact and word to Ahmed, the movie also uses the end credits to show other interpreters and men that helped our service members that may still be at risk along with their family members. It’s a powerful message that will make you outraged at the broken promises and lives that are still being used as pawns in a fight they didn’t belong in.
To date, The Covenant just may be one of the least Guy Ritchie-type films he’s released. That being said, it still has very out-of-place classical music over the top of intense scenes to the point it almost overpowers the moment. If you can get past that and the (several) very awkward long-held stares between the two main actors – the story actually is a powerful one.
The bond between the soldiers and the translators, plus the dedication the men have to each other are ones that should be envied and honored. With the current status of several of the translators and men that helped our service members out still left in limbo (at best) and peril – the movie is almost a call to action to help out the men that risked everything to help our troops out.
Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant is in theaters this weekend.
About Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant:
Follows Sergeant John, who on his last tour of duty in Afghanistan is teamed with local interpreter Ahmed, who risks his own life to carry an injured John across miles of grueling terrain to safety.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Beecham, Anthony Starr
Directed by Guy Ritchie