All The Old Knives
review by Bobby Blakey
There are movies that are hard to place when you see the trailer. The latest from Borg vs. McEnroe director Janus Metz, All The Old Knives looks to bring some mystery, conspiracy, romance, and a little game of cat and mouse. The film features a great cast including Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton, Laurence Fishburne and Jonathan Pryce, but could it actually deliver that intriguing investigation it sets out to solve or will it fail to find the leak?
All The Old Knives follows veteran operative Henry Pelham who is assigned to root out the mole from among his former officemates at the agency’s Vienna station when the CIA discovers one of its agents leaked information that cost more than 100 people their lives. His investigation takes him from Austria to England to California, where he is reunited with his one-time colleague and ex-lover Celia Harrison. The pair are forced to blur the lines between profession and passion in this riveting tale of global espionage, moral ambiguity and deadly betrayal.
I knew going in that this film was going to be focusing on Pine’s character Pelham trying to uncover the mole, but what I didn’t expect was the way they formatted the movie to something so intimate. They take an interesting approach to tell the story through a series of flash backs that are intertwined into a compelling sequence of Pine and Newton at dinner. They have such great chemistry and while it might seem like just watching them talk wouldn’t be overly interesting you can’t help but hang on every word as things are being uncovered.
The flashback sequences are interesting enough, but these are the moments that make the film more generic and eager to get back to their banter. They both hold their composure and offer up interesting back and forth chatter as things begin to amp up. You always get the feeling more is happening during this time, but at the same time feel that it is the safe space they wanted to
have this important dialogue. It’s one of those that you think you have figured out only to get more twists that change it once again.
This isn’t an exciting movie by any means, but instead a well-executed film with its two leads showcasing excellent performances and depth. You feel the pain, love and betrayal as it comes and goes with their looks and dialogue making it a compelling right up until the unexpected ending. Join the investigation and check out All The Old Knives available now in select theaters and Prime Video.