Dar Salim (left) and Jake Gyllenhaal (right) star in “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant” (Photo Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures).

(“Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant” trailer courtesy 0f MGM)

The term hero gets thrown around too loosely in modern American society.

Anyone who puts on a uniform automatically gets labeled a hero, no matter what they do, heroic or not.

But true heroes put others before themselves, even if it means putting their own lives on the line.

In “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant,” moviegoers will get a true depiction of what heroism truly looks like, while getting a brutal picture of how treacherous warfare can be.

Since the disastrous exit of American troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban’s renaissance in the country and the peril that American allies left behind in the Middle East country find themselves in, the plight of American interpreters have gotten much-needed media coverage.

Therefore, “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant” comes at the perfect time because an increased spotlight is needed so that Americans do not forget those unsung heroes who helped the country fight the war on terrorism.

In “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant,” Sergeant John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal) is doing what many would think a sergeant in the United States military would do.

He is leading his troops in battle, while still attempting to maintain his sanity.

Kinley jokes around with the boys in his troop.

He also does his best to keep in touch with his young family back home despite the time difference.

But like any soldier will attest, one moment behind enemy lines can change people’s lives forever.

The problem with the war on terrorism is that while many Americans believe they are liberating a foreign country from tyrannical rule and ushering in democracy, very few people would probably like a foreign adversary occupying their country as if they run the joint.

Sure, those who have suffered mightily because of the Taliban welcome the American liberators.

But those who side with the Taliban pose a great danger to the Americans because how can one discern an enemy from an ally, especially when one does not even speak the native tongue?

As a result, Americans rely heavily on interpreters to help them navigate the dangerous foreign landscape.

But those who sign up to help the Americans put themselves in grave danger because they will forever be seen as infidels deserving death.

When a good interpreter is found, they become indispensable.

Unfortunately, bullets and bombs have no names on them.

As a result, when a car bomb kills an interpreter and an American soldier, Kinley and his boys must regroup and re-staff the positions of the fallen heroes.

In “Guy’s Ritchie’s The Covenant,” Ahmed (Dar Salim) is recommended to Kinley as a new interpreter for his unit.

Although Ahmed speaks several languages fluently, many find him difficult to work with.

Ahmed has a reputation for being a jerk and surly.

Furthermore, he seems a little untrustworthy.

But because of his past life, Ahmed knows the territory very well.

And his skills as a mechanic might come in handy while the soldiers navigate the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan.

Despite all of Ahmed’s pros, his cons still give Kinley some pause because in a foreign country, soldiers never truly know who to trust.

Maybe the Taliban have gotten to Ahmed and have planted him inside the American military so that they can sabotage their occupiers.

The Taliban could be threatening his family if Ahmed does not cooperate.

Or maybe he is a Taliban sympathizer who needs no coercion to want harm done to the American occupiers.

But what if he truly is a hero and wants to see the Americans defeat the Taliban once and for all?

If Ahmed is truly on the side of the Americans, his help could prove invaluable.

But if Kinley does not trust a true ally, and instead listens to the voices of others, he could put himself and more of his troops in tremendous peril.

“Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant” is simply tremendous.

The film shows true heroism in more ways than one.

The war movie shows true brotherhood between the soldiers and amongst the soldiers and their interpreters.

In team sports, coaches often teach players that the letter “I” does not exist in the word team, meaning that doing what is best for the individual usually does not lead to victory.

In a true team situation, individuals must lean on each other so they all can achieve the desired goal.

The team goal in sports is victory.

And in war, the ultimate goal is victory.

But to achieve a victory on the battlefield soldiers must achieve survival first, which really makes teamwork essential, even if a person initially does not trust their teammate.

In “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant,” Salim completely kills his role as the interpreter, Ahmed.

His facial expressions often say it all.

In “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant,” Ahmed does not always talk a lot.

But his frustration, desperation and anger are apparent.

Like the American soldiers, he too has been beat up by the war in Afghanistan.

But his pain leads him to do something positive, as opposed to turning to violence and terrorism.

In “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant,” Ahmed and Kinley soon find out that they will need each other if they want to return home to their wives and kids.

Therefore, the duo takes turns doing heroic things to make sure they survive a treacherous war.

More importantly, a true hero does not need to be prodded to do what is best for their fellow man.

They do what’s best for others because true heroes often put themselves second and others first.







Todd A. Smith
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