All the Old Knives (2022) – Review

Two CIA Agents and former lovers, Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) and Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton), are drafted back together years after a failed and traumatic rescue mission that involved the hijacking of a plane by international terrorists. Henry is sent to interview Celia and quiz her on her part of the mission, with the pair discussing the case over dinner. Through multiple perspectives, timelines, and interviews, Henry, and Celia hope to find out what truly transpired that day. This spy thriller is certainly one to watch, but not if you’re hoping for a night of fiery and intense action. All the Old Knives is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Director: Janus Metz
Writers: Olen Steinhauer
Starring: Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Pryce

Based on the book by Olen Steinhauer, All the Old Knives is a slow, untraditional spy thriller that relies heavily on the knowledge and sophistication of certain characters, rather than brute force and an ungodly amount of action scenes that many similar movies include today. Despite the filmmakers portraying the story over a multitude of different timelines, the flick was still relatively easy to follow with one or two interesting twists and turns along the way, enough to keep you invested throughout the one-hundred and one minute runtime.

From a stylistic point of view, the cinematography was on point. Each scene was extremely easy on the eye, as was the costume and set design, respectively. A large majority of the exterior shots were filmed in Vienna, Austria and the rest were captured inside a quaint, but attractive restaurant that served as an important part of the tale. Not only was the film visually pleasing, but the soundtrack added a layer of intrigue and sophistication too, albeit slightly overdone at times.

On a side note, this wasn’t just a film that can be branded as a thriller, there was indeed a romantic element injected also, which can be expected from films of the nature. The chemistry between the two lead characters aided this well, as did the slow dialogue and previously mentioned flashbacks.

In terms of the cast, the two primary characters of importance were Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison, played by Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton. Support came from various different angles, primarily from Laurence Fishburne who adopted the role of Vick Wallinger, the head of the CIA station in Vienna, and Jonathan Pryce who portrayed Bill Compton, a retire CIA Agent – two important support characters that warranted their fair share of screentime.

Overall, All of the Old Knives certainly wasn’t an action-packed fun fest, it was a slow, methodical based romantic thriller with one or two illogical aspects thrown in too. If you’re able to overlook those, however, you’ll more than likely enjoy this one – especially considering the rather surprising ending. It’s also worth noting that All of the Old Knives is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

“We cannot afford the embarrassment of a prosecution. I need to know the man I send can do what’s necessary.”

Vick Wallinger – All the Old Knives


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