Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (2023) Movie Ending Explained: Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant is finally available to stream digitally. The action-thriller film takes place in a high-stakes setting and revolves around an intricate reality of the US deployment in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021. Almost two decades of occupation may have done more harm than good, despite the Covenant’s implicit assertion to the contrary. It might not be in reality, but there is a sense you take away from watching the film. Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim star in the central roles, taking up the majority of the screen time and narrative attention. 

At its core, The Covenant is an anti-war film and a heartening epitomization of finding the human bond beneath the customs of countries, religions, and ideologies. Ritchie has explored a new category of drama with The Covenant, as he did with Wrath of Man a few years ago. The final product is truly inspired by the politically charged commentary on the issue and, like most films about war, has a thoroughbred anti-war sentiment. In this piece, we decode the major plot points of The Covenant, giving you our take on that explosive, action-filled ending and also decoding the film’s underlying message. 

Is The Covenant based on a true story?

The Covenant is not based on a true story. But it only means that the actual events depicted in the movie – majorly the heightened extraction and rescue mission – are not inspired by a real event. Many war films have come up recently which are based on true stories. The overarching Kinley-Ahmed narrative is based on several real-life bonds that were developed between men like them. The Covenant is bookended with actual photographs of American shoulders expressing their camaraderie with their Afghan brothers who became a part of the military units with their translation and interpretation duties. 

So even though The Covenant is not based on a singular event, it depicts the real suffering that many Afghan interpreters, seen as traitors by the Taliban, now face under their solitary rule. This has led the Taliban to pursue and prosecute these men left behind by the US. 

The Covenant (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

What is The Covenant About?

Sergeant John Kinley (Gyllenhaal) leads a unit in the special operations division of the US military intervention in Afghanistan. Their job is filled with dangers, as we see a soldier lose his life at the start of the movie in an intentional terrorist attack by the Taliban. The job of the unit is to seek factories where the Taliban makes IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and to retrieve such devices from suspects. In one such mission, they get a tip from a Taliban insider, Faraj, about a place. It is a major site at the abandoned mine on the hills. 

Each of these units had interpreters with them, who would liaison with the locals. Ahmed, a strong-headed local, was roped in by Kinley into his unit. He has a pregnant wife and lost his son to a Taliban attack. Furthermore, Ahmed proves to be invaluable when he vitiates a trap to kill the unit when no one else sees it coming. On this mission, things go awfully wrong as one of the terrorists is able to call for backup. Everyone in the eight-man unit, except Kinley and Ahmed, is killed by the Taliban. 

These two escape and somehow survive. But before Kinley can do anything, he is taken back to the US, and Ahmed goes into hiding. Kinley is determined to retrieve the man he owes his life to, forming the majority of the second half of The Covenant. 

How did Ahmed save Kinley’s life?

After the two men escaped on foot into the jungle at the foothills, the Taliban was determined to catch them. It was a matter of immense humiliation for them that these two had escaped. Since it was squarely their territory, the Taliban had patrolled the roads and all major exit points. This made the duo’s task harder. Kinley’s tactical nuance and Ahmed’s bravery worked well for a while. But it could not match the Taliban’s will to catch them. Soon, the distance was cut to zero, and the terrorists arrested Kinley. They were instructed to bring him back alive. 

But Ahmed ambushed the handful and saved Kinley’s life. Kinley was gravely injured and could barely keep his eyes open, let alone walk on his own. Ahmed made a choice right then and there: he could have abandoned Kinley, left him to die in the middle of nowhere – or killed him mercifully. But he decided to risk his own life to give Kinley a chance. The Covenant has a long montage of Ahmed doing everything possible – from carrying Kinley in a makeshift cart to keeping him warm with his own body – to keep pegging away the distance to the USA’s air base.

This part of the movie might seem a little sapped of drama and dull. But props to Ritchie and his team for valuing Ahmed’s journey to relay a sense of how hard it was for him to carry another human being through the rugged terrain (as they couldn’t have taken the roads) all by himself without having any expectations. 

Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim in The Covenant (2023)

Why is Kinley motivated to travel back and save Ahmed’s life, risking his own?

After Kinley wakes up, his story goes viral. He becomes an urban legend in Afghanistan and the US military. Kinley has no memory of what happened, but they start to come back to him in flashes. Subsequently, he grows sick of the red tape bureaucracy that is slow-moving and thick-headed to act decisively. The urgency of the situation ate him up from the inside and compelled him to try everything “legal” to ask if the military ever gave Ahmed a US visa. 

Kinley’s motivations are related to what Ahmed did for him. When he realizes the true extent of what happened, Kinley is shocked at this superhuman act of courage and kindness. Ahmed risked his own life to save Kinley, something that he had no moral high stakes to do. It was striking because of what it says about the power of human bonding that goes beyond man-made customs like religion and countries. This had a major impact on Kinley, who also felt regret and guilt for putting Ahmed “in a hole” when justice would dictate that their places be swapped. 

Whose help does Kinley take to execute the plan? How did it prove to be a success?

Caroline, John’s wife, leveled Kinley’s mission with a single and clear statement: she was with him. This scene in the couple’s automotive workshop depicts Caroline’s devotion to Kinley. She understood Kinley wouldn’t be the same if he did not at least try to save Ahmed. He owed him an important debt – “the debt of his life.” And Kinley was a man who repaid his debts. They decide to remortgage their house, get some money, and take the help of a private security contractor to help him in the rescue. mission. Parker, the liaison who heads the tactical unit at his organization, reveals to Kinley that another much more lucrative mission has come up.

Kinley’s mission would be postponed by three days, but the soldier understood the urgency of the situation. He decided to go into Afghanistan alone and meet with Ahmed’s brother, Ali, to get his location. Ali was a smack dealer, having business with the Taliban. His driver, Pooya, was earlier seen in the movie helping Ahmed escape from yet another Taliban raid to find him. Parker came through on his promise to help Kinley, which we will discuss in the final segment.

The Covenant (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

What is the underlying message of the film?

After Pooya smuggled Kinley in the back of his truck, they were stopped en route to Ahmed’s location at a Taliban checkpoint. Despite paying an exorbitant amount of money to guarantee a safe path for Ali’s trucks, he was stopped. They came around the back to check on the goods, but Kinley, who was hiding beneath the cargo, shot them dead. The echo of the gunshots was heard by an alert terrorist nearby, who informed the central Taliban command of the same. He started pursuing the truck to the hiding place.

He confirmed the men’s identities as Ahmed and Kinley, which infuriated the Taliban. They sent hordes of men as Kinley escaped with Ahmed and his family in Pooya’s truck. They had to get to the dam for extraction, where Parker’s team would pick him up. The Taliban forces were too many in number, and despite killing so many of them, Kinley still felt like all was lost and the mission would fail. When Parker’s colleague tells him that Roy (Kinley’s alias) is actually Kinley, he jumps at the opportunity to help him seriously and sent a fighter jet to the dam.

That was game over for Taliban forces as the jet simply overpowered them. Kinley’s mission was a success, and he has finally paid off his “debt.” If one looks beyond the schematics of plot and narrative, Guy Ricthie’s messaging strikes at the root of divide and morality. The US has often claimed the high ground in its invasion of Afghanistan. The move is still seen as a “valiant act of self-defense for the protection of its sovereignty.” But the film takes a swipe at their hypocritical stance. 

Kinley uses the word “debt” a lot in the film. His guilty conscience is an allegory to the collective psychological trauma that many American soldiers faced after “abandoning their Afghan brothers” who helped them navigate the tricky locals, scruffy terrains, and the violent Taliban terrorists. America cannot claim moral superiority after abandoning so many interpreters and their families. They simply neglected the value of their lives by leaving them out to be hunted and killed by the Taliban, who took control of Afghanistan after the US forces left the country.

Through Ahmed and Kinley’s bond, Ritchie tries to find a middle ground to establish the meaning and messaging beneath his narrative. He wants the viewer to recognize that the bond of humanity transcends the various divides that the manmade world has created. 

Read More: Why Guy Ritchie Is Above His Mediocre Filmography?

 Watch The Covenant (2023) Movie Trailer:

The Covenant (2023) Movie Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Covenant (2023) Movie Cast – Jake Gyllenhaal, Dar Salim, Sean Sagar
Where to watch The Covenant

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