The trailer for Guy Ritchie’s new film is here, the specifically titled Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (not to be confused with previous films of the same name.) The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim, and is produced by MGM Studios and STX Films with a theater only release April 23rd, 2023.
Guy Ritchie brings his talents behind the camera to a new genre he has yet to explore: a modern war drama. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Sargent John Kinley, a U.S. military solider on his last tour of duty in Afghanistan. When he is wounded and saved by a local Afghan interpreter named Ahmed (Dar Salim), Kinley vows to return to save his life from the Taliban.
Known for his stylized films, Ritchie shifts to a more serious tone with an original story. The British filmmaker typically casts British actors for action-filled plots (Snatch, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, Wrath of Man) or hired-gun franchise/fantasy affair (Sherlock Holmes, Aladdin). Lead Gyllenhaal is no stranger to working with auteur filmmakers, war narratives, or intense characters. Gyllenhaal previously worked with Sam Mendes for the 2005 desert storm war film Jarhead, and his experience with David Fincher, Denis Villeneuve, and Michael Bay should have him ready for his first film with action/drama director Ritchie.
“You think if I could be free of this debt, I wouldn’t be? You think I have a choice? There is no choice.” These final words spoken by Gyllenhaal’s Sgt. Kinley echo the tone of an exciting but solemn determination throughout this trailer. It begins showing the incident of Kinley being injured on a tour of duty in hostile Afghanistan territory. He is saved by a local interpreter, Ahmed, who treks miles of desolation to get him to safety. Kinley learns in his recovery than Ahmed and his family were not granted safe access to the United States, and is instead hiding in enemy territory. Fighting regret and uncertainty, Kinley sets in motion to rescue Ahmed against great odds.
A slowed-down version of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” accompanies the action. The trailer shows an interesting contrast with Guy Ritchie’s trademark style, but with a refreshing show of restraint. Ritchie typically showcases the exploitations of larger-than-life character, with fast-paced dialogue (usually wise-guy British types) and stylized action of quick-cut editing and slow-mo ramp-up action shooting.
The trailer for Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant looks to be more of a conventional war film. Drone and crane shots of Afghan terrain features bombs and gunfire. Slow-motion shots creep in for a close-up of Sgt. Kinley in the midst of the action, or sifting through amnesiac memories in flashbacks. An inverted camera angle of Sgt. Kinley and Ahmed when the fire fight goes sideways disorients the audience much in the way Ritchie has done with failed bank heists in his previous work.
Ritchie’s trailer not only engages viewers in the story’s key conflicts but also promises a thrilling modern war film. Gyllenhaal’s reputation should be strong enough to carry the film and draw a crowd to the cinema-only release.
MGM Studio’s and STX Films presents Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant in theaters only April 23rd, 2023. The script is written by Guy Ritchie and Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies, and the cast features Antony Starr, Alexander Ludwig, Bobby Schofield, Emily Beecham, and Jonny Lee Miller.