Guy Ritchie’s “The Covenant” Review

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Guy Ritchie’s “The Covenant” Rating: 3.5/5

When I saw Guy Ritchie’s name attached to a war movie, I was shocked. Never did I think he would abandon his signature brand for a film like this…but here we are.

“The Covenant” tells a story about friendship and loyalty. Paying your dues and honoring your word. After a US Army sergeant is saved by his interpreter, he vows to get him US citizenship and repay him for his valiant efforts.

Positives

I was very much looking forward to this one due to the subject matter. Any movie with Jake Gyllenhaal’s name attached piques my interest. I always admire his willingness to take roles that go against the grain. He’s even explained what portraying a military member means to him and how it’s made him a better actor — nice words from him. It seems to reflect in the story as he gives a well-rounded performance the whole way through. He plays into the moral obligation of helping a fellow man while also understanding the risk involved.

Dar Salim also turns in a solid performance as the interpreter. These two carry the film and it wouldn’t succeed without their commitment.

A surprisingly strong element was the score! Each scene was complimented with a rousing, pulse pounding series of musical sequences. The film is also well edited. The cuts and framing were utilized in a way that helps the audience put themselves in the character’s shoes. It’s especially impressive during the action sequences.

Cinematography is an impressive area, too. We’re really integrated into the Afghan setting, feeling what the interpreter is living with and what he’s avoiding in the Taliban.

Negatives

“The Covenant” snuck up on me out of nowhere. It looked like a hit in the making with the unique premise that was established. While I certainly enjoyed the film, it didn’t quite live up to the expectations I set for it.

Something that stood out to me early on was the pacing. The movie is only 2 hours and 3 minutes long, but it felt a lot longer. Certain sequences moved briskly with a tense tone while others slogged. I was shocked at how slow some portions felt.

The believability of the film felt flimsy at times, too. Without spoiling the story, I had a hard time believing how elements of the mission were executed or how certain characters survived. In a film that relies on realism and military logistics, I had a hard time overlooking this. However, I don’t think the military aspects of the film are the central point of the story, rather the importance of brotherhood and loyalty. I try to overlook it for that reason, but it still stretches credibility.

Conclusion

Even though “The Covenant” doesn’t live up to the highs of previous war films, it still warrants a watch due to the nice themes and well edited sequences.

The two leading performances are good, helping us understand what these people go through and how living in a free society comes with a cost. For that, I’d say give it a watch. Whether that be in theaters or on streaming is to the viewer’s discretion.

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