Movie Review: The Covenant

The new movie “The Covenant” for some reason has the name of the director in front of the title. The last time I saw something this was for “Lee Dan Daniels: The Butler”, released in 2013 – hopefully not a new trend with movies.

The Covenant is one of those true stories that are hard to believe really happened, even in this case during the war in Afghanistan that started in 2001 after the terrorist attacks on 911. This film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as John Kinley, who is an army sergeant serving in Afghanistan leading a team of soldiers in 2011. There are several very well-done and believable battle scenes with the Taliban within this story, the most important one involving an ambush where John and Ahmed survived and run for their lives. The second soldier Ahmed, played by Dar Salim is from Afghanistan and had been hired by the United States Army to help translate – in exchange for a promised visa and transport to the United States for him and his family.

After the ambush, both Ahmed and John try to escape the dangerous and mountainous terrain of Afghanistan and are attacked multiple times. In one attack John is shot by the Taliban, badly injured, and then rescued by Ahmed. What follows is an incredible trek by Ahmed to get John out of the country and this is part of this true story that is the most difficult to believe actually happened – considering how difficult Ahmed’s attempts to drag John out of the country over the impossible terrain of Afghanistan.

The remainder of this movie is all about John, the politics of the Federal Government of the United States, and the Army, trying to find Ahmed to honor the Covenant – the sacred promise made to get Ahmed and his family out of Afghanistan and to the United States with Visas. Several scenes I appreciated the most were John’s desperate attempts, over the phone, constantly being put on hold, for hours trying to save Ahmed and his family. This part of this true story was the easiest to believe really happened, where politics and red tape were more important than trying to save a man and his family – who saved the life of an Army sergeant. John’s relentless and undying pursuit to save the man who saved his life about 100 times was the most impressive part of this amazing true story. How many of us would have done what John did, including mortgaging his own house to get the 150K to obtain Ahmed’s visas and airlift his family out of a very dangerous Afghanistan.

I thought that the battle scenes within this war movie were very well done, as was the solid acting throughout. I agree with the 81% rating on Roten Tomatoes and recommend this film.

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