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HomeVideos‘Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant’ Review: Call of Duty

‘Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant’ Review: Call of Duty

“Guy Riches the Covenant,” the story of an American sergeant (Jake Gyllenhaal) who becomes attached to the honor of his Afghan translator (Dar Saleem), begins like many other films about an ultimately unsuccessful 20-year effort to suppress the Taliban. . Aerial footage of desiccated mountains, sudden explosions of violence and a nostalgic wail of classic rock expose the yet unrealized ambitions of a younger generation to juxtapose war images with images from Vietnam. Sincerity is an unusual tone for its director Guy Ritchie, who specializes in laddish shoot-em-ups. Here, Ritchie isn’t just disingenuous—he’s morally outraged about the broken promises he made to thousands of Afghans who thought they’d received special immigrant visas only to be left to fend for themselves. To be given. For all its talk, this provocative and disturbing film tugs at your conscience for days, making a powerful case for drawing the American public’s attention to a conflict it would rather forget.

John Kinley (Gyllenhall) is on his fourth tour when his squad teams up with Ahmed (Salim), a former heroin smuggler, to search the countryside for bomb makers. During the opening of this war hell, Ritchie and his co-writers Evan Atkinson and Maren Davies draw the audience into the use of language, especially the way most of the soldiers refer to Ahmed as “interpreter” as if he were a tool. . , not a person. In the field, John is concise and authoritative. Ahmad, intuitive and polite. “I believe in you, but they need to believe in you,” he advises one local. Under the dramatically flashing lights of Bagram Air Base, Ahmed wrestles with a Cincinnati lawyer on the distinction between “translation” and “interpretation.” (Salem, raised in Denmark, does not emphasize the accent.)

Then the movie pivots. In the second act, the two men are trapped in enemy territory. Ahmed saves Jan’s life. After arriving home in California, John vows to save Ahmed after he learns that his bodyguard has been forced into hiding. “I’m on the hook,” John explains to his wife (Emily Beecham), as Gyllenhaal’s blue eyes fill with embarrassment. When John braves the State Department’s byzantine phone tree, he soon becomes so exasperated that he grabs a beer and a hammer. The bombardment defense that follows is the most bitter form of wish-fulfillment—a display of individual loyalty meant to embarrass a beleaguered bureaucracy.

Ritchie’s action scenes are plagued by fighting games: our heroes shoot first, grab the dead man’s gun and repeat. Body count becomes involuntarily high. Yet we eventually succumb to the initial dread of the film’s packed and almost dialogue-free escape sequence, driven by Christopher Benstead’s sweet, hand-tapping score. One can’t help but conjure up images of Samwise and Frodo in Mordor, watching a weary Ahmed shoulder John through the mud and fog, sharing a long pipe of opium for the pain. Gyllenhaal’s character becomes so stoned that the film almost quickly relegates the first adventure to flashbacks — an unnecessary flourish whose only benefit is letting us relax a second time as the long-nosed Afghan hounds sniff out the same pack of hounds. Hoy comes back into view. Now slow down and reverse. For once, Richie probably doesn’t want the audience to laugh. But in the moment, we’re relieved that we can.

The Testament of Guy Ritchie
Rated R for serious violence and topical language. Running time: 2 hours 3 minutes. In theaters.



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