May 25, 2024

ALL THE OLD KNIVES (2022) – Saved by Chris Pine’s charms again!


Rating: ⭐⭐ 1/2

Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton (remember her as one of the AI robots in TV series Westworld) play CIA agents entangled in a botched attempt to rescue hostages in an airplane hijack that happened in Austria some 8 years ago. They also happen to be lovers at that time but somehow separated after the unfortunate tragedy. 8 years later the case for the hijacking is reopened with new information indicating a mole within the organisation that contributed to the failed rescue and Chris Pine is tasked with finding out who the mole is and execute justice.

It is all standard Hollywood romantic espionage fusion but somehow Danish director Janus Metz manages to infuse some freshness in a well worn genre. Visually the film excels with some great camera work. But this is not fully exploited since much of the film is taken up with dialogue scenes. That leaves the weight of sustaining viewer interest to the actors’ performances and script. Fortunately we have the ever reliable Chris Pine to carry much of the film. He is aptly supported by Thandiwe Newton. Together they provide much of the film’s tension through the unravelling of the mystery. The flow of the film relied a lot on the flip flop between different timelines which can feel a bit confusing at times, and at other times feel a bit repetitive. Nevertheless, I this the format is necessary to help make an otherwise straightforward story feel more involving. This is especially so when the film is so heavy on dialogue since it is basically our two main stars talking to each other. Somehow they also found an excuse to have the obligatory sex scenes to show our stars naked. These somehow felt a little exploitative.

Ultimately films like these rely a lot on the plot and the expectation of some sort of twist at the end. Here is where All The Old Knives succeed in providing the suitable conclusion and closure. Its twist upon twist at the end was admittedly unexpected and oddly satisfying despite it being a downcast. The conclusion cements the fusion of this being as much of a love story as it is a spy thriller (without the thrills). All The Old Knives may not be something you will remember but it is riveting while you watch.

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