Director: Janus Metz Pedersen
Writer: Olen Steinbauer
Starring: Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton, Laurence Fishburne, and Jonathan Pryce
All the Old Knives is a thriller, that’s based on the book of the same name by Olen Steinbauer, who also wrote the screenplay. It’s a dialogue heavy spy story, that has some great twists, but is let down by a messy opening and some slow pacing.
Henry (Chris Pine) is a CIA agent who is tasked with interviewing Celia (Thandiwe Newton) about a terrorist hijacking of Turkish Airlines 127 eight years prior. There’s reason to believe that a leak from within the agency that caused the hijacking to end tragically. Henry and Celia worked together at the time of the incident and were also romantically involved. They also haven’t seen each other since it happened.
The film starts of incredibly messy with time jumps and it takes a little while to actually settle down and start to make sense. Once it does it’s a standard thriller, with Celia and Henry going over the events of what happened. To fully investigate Henry also interviews Bill (Jonathan Pryce), who has warned Celia about Henry before he arrives. There’s a lot of double crossing and layers to what’s going on and you never feel like you’re completely in the know, until the end with a great twist as everything is revealed.
Before you get to that though, there’s the glaringly obvious strangeness of Henry investigating the hijacking and having to interview his ex. It seems really bizarre that he’s allowed to do this, just from the fact that he is potentially the leak as pointed out by Celia at one point in the interview. There is some events that happen later in the film that kind of make this make sense, but it’s still a stretch in believability.
The film does feel like it drags on a little too long. Running at a little over ninety minutes, the pace is very slow and you do start to drift off at points. It’s an interesting story and you do want to know what happens, but you do feel its length and no matter how great the ending is, it doesn’t make up for how long it takes to get there.
All the Old Knives isn’t great, but it’s not terrible. Some good performances from the central characters and a good ending, but that’s about it.
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