Jake Gyllenhaal is back in uniform for Afghanistan rescue drama ‘The Covenant’

‘The Covenant’ debuts April 21.
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Jake Gyllenhaal is heading to Afghanistan to rescue an interpreter left behind in Guy Ritchie’s upcoming film, The Covenant, the first trailer for which debuted yesterday. Gyllenhaal stars as Army Sgt. John Kinley, a special forces soldier who travels to Afghanistan to try and rescue an interpreter, played by Dar Salim, who once saved his life.

The trailer opens with Gyllenhaal’s character struggling to remember what happened to him during his final deployment to Afghanistan, when he was knocked unconscious during an ambush. Flashing back, we see Kinley — in full bearded, Oakley-wearing operator glory — meeting his new interpreter Ahmed, whose son was killed by the Taliban. Kinley seems dismissive of Ahmed at first, telling him that he’s only with the team to translate. When Kinley’s detachment is ambushed and he is almost captured, though, it is Ahmed who rescues him. And then, apparently, spends the next three weeks carrying Kinley across Afghanistan to safety. 

Back in the present day, with the Taliban once again in control of Afghanistan, Kinley is wracked with guilt over Ahmed being left behind. After being told there is no way to rescue his old friend, Kinley decides to return to Afghanistan on a rescue mission that, going by the trailer, involves plenty of gunfire and explosions. 

It’s not the first time Gyllenhaal has starred as a U.S. service member. He portrayed a Marine in 2005’s Jarhead, and an Army captain in 2011’s Source Code

While the plot of The Covenant may seem a bit far-fetched, the plight of thousands of Afghans who worked for the United States and were trapped in Afghanistan in August, 2021 is very real. A 2022 survey of 1,450 current and former service members conducted by the Association of Wartime Allies and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America found that 484 respondents reported having been in contact with an Afghan who worked in some capacity for the U.S. Of that number, 70% reported that the Afghans they were in contact with were not able to evacuate or that they had lost contact altogether since 2021. 

The Covenant debuts in theaters on April 21. 

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