Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from direction Guy Ritchie and STX Films comes the story of war, the men who fight it and THE COVENANT.

In Afghanistan, Sgt. John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal) is looking for the Taliban and needs an interpreter. He is assigned Ahmed (Dar Salim), who has his own personal reasons for wanting to be a part of the squad. Kinley is known to do things his way and quickly discovers that Ahmed is not afraid to throw himself in the middle of things.

Receiving intel that there is a ammunitions factory out in the desert, Kinley takes his team to investigate. They not only find the bombs but a shoot out ensues as he, along with Ahmed manages to escape, but briefly. The Taliban soldiers catch up to them and Kinley is hurt as Ahmed begins his journey to get him home avoiding the Taliban leaders order to capture them alive.

Rescued and in the hospital, Kinley learns that Ahmed and his family are in hiding. As an interpreter, Ahmed had applied for a Visa and without it, hiding is his only options. That doesn’t sit well with Kinley as he plans to return to Afghanistan and complete a mission to honor the covenant.

Gyllenhaal as Kinley is the tough as nails, compassionate and determined Sgt. of a team that move in sync. Wanting to do more, he is sort of taken off the leash to find the Taliban. When it comes time to right a wrong, the same determination motivates him. Gyllenhaal gives the film a character that isn’t swayed by what others might call the impossible, instead it fuels his own personal mission. His performance is uniquely one note, and that note is no nonsense and intense. Gyllenhaal understands this role uniquely from his experience in the 2005 film JARHEAD.

Salim as Ahmed is a man on his own mission as well. Protecting his family is his first priority and with the invaluable knowledge of his people and the Taliban, he is uniquely perfectly matched with Kinely’s intensity. Saving Kinley and avoiding the enemy takes Ahmed on his own personal journey. Salim brought me deep into the story and bought on that nervous feeling when a character is in danger. His performance matches the intensity of Gyllenhaal as these two actors are marvelous together. If Salim looks familiar, perhaps you might recognize him as one of Khal Drogo’s Bloodrider’s, Qotho, from GAME OF THRONES.

Other cast include Antony Starr, Bobby Schofield, Emily Beecham, Jonny Lee Miller, Jason Wong, Sean Sagar, Sina Parvaneh, Cyrus Khodaveisi, Christian Ochoa, Rhys Yates, Fahim Fazli, Swen Temmel, Fariba Sheikhan, Reza Diako, Gary Stennette, Abbas Fasaei, and Alexander Ludwig.

STX Films and Entertainment is a global next-generation company who has taken on the mission to unlock the value of direct connection stars have with their fans through the development, production and distribution of film, television, VR, digital video, music and live entertainment content. It is the industry leader in transforming beyond traditional platform-driven content to creating talent-driven enterprises. To experience more please visit

THE COVENANT is the story of two men with the same goal, remove the enemy from where they are and get home to their loved ones. Easier for Kinely until he discovers Ahmed has become a wanted man. Gyllenhaal gives the performance of a man who will not take no for an answer when it comes to completing the agreement the U.S. has made with Ahmed. Salim gives his own performance of a man who understands the world he is interpreting and the danger that comes with what his is doing for the military.

During the Afghan/Iraq war, translators or interpreters were able to apply for visas. The process is long and I went to the government website to see for myself what steps a translator must take in order to get a visa. As much as it is outlined, I can not imagine how difficult it must have been/be to try to do it all in a war zone. Knowing this brings an even deeper respect for the role Salim played as Ahmed.

This is also a story of two men who are alike and although they are two men from two different worlds, there is an intense, non-spoken connection that makes them more alike than they realize. Neither Kinley or Ahmed has a lot to say but when they do, everyone needs to hear them. Director Ritchie captures the story written by

Writers Ivan Atkinson, Marn Davies and Guy Ritchie have written a story based on the amalgamation of stories about Afghan translators and the soldiers they worked with. The US left thousands of interpreters behind who were waiting for special immigration visas when the government left Afghanistan in 2021. Their fate could quite possibly be that of Ahmed’s and worse.

In the end – two men, one war and a covenant!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.