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Movie Review

Release Date: 04/08/22
Genre: Thriller

Studio: Amazon Studios


"Two CIA operatives, and former lovers, reunite at idyllic Carmel-by-the-Sea to re-examine a mission six years ago in Vienna where a fellow agent might have been compromised."


All the Old Knives is a tale of espionage with plenty of fun twists and turns. The film begins by introducing us to Henry (Chris Pine), a CIA agent who had been stationed in Vienna six years prior when an airplane was hijacked. He is informed that an investigation is being reopened regarding the hijacking becaused a terrorist has recently been captured and relayed that there was a mole in the Vienna station at the time of the hijacking. Henry’s boss, Vick (Laurence Fishburne), sends him to Los Angeles to interview Celia (Thandiwe Newton), a former colleague about the incident. 


Henry and Celia haven’t seen each other in years so they start at the beginning, which is very convenient for the viewer. Through Celia’s retelling, we are introduced to everyone of importance at the station at the time of the hijacking. We flash between present day and their time together in Vienna. As the story goes on, more timelines are added including Henry interrogating another member of their old team as well as some bits and pieces of Henry’s post before Vienna. These contrasting timelines adds to the complexity of the story and ensures that there is never a dull moment in the movie. If you like mysteries then you’ll enjoy trying to piece together this story. Writer Olen Steinhauer does an excellent job of giving you small bits of information at a time, adding to the overall tension of the story. Each character is suspicious in their own way and it’s hard to know whose viewpoint to trust as we flash back and forth between the present and the past. The mole could be anyone and you’ll be left guessing right until the very end. 


This is the first feature film for director Janus Metz and it’s a very solid first effort. Metz keeps his actors tightly reigned in until the last bit of the movie where emotions take over and chaos breaks loose. He keeps things zipping along at a rapid pace and uses off putting scenes to throw you off the trail and keep you guessing. There are several surprising twists that I didn’t see coming but I will not mention them here to avoid spoiling it for anyone. Pine and Newton have fairly good chemistry together and you believe their past connection to each other. It was hard to know who to root for in this movie because each character is presented as being sneaky and a bit guarded – they are CIA agents after all. Pine and Newton play off of each other well and it’s fun to see their characters’ skillful deception at work in their conversation. All the Old Knives was a fun espionage movie that was entertaining for the entire one hour and forty-one minute runtime. Some might solve the mystery of the mole easily, but even if you do, seeing how things come together should still be enjoyable.

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