All the Old Knives ⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali
Two CIA agents and ex-lovers (Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton) are brought back together years after a failed rescue attempt and blur the lines between profession and passion in a tale of global espionage, moral dilemma and deadly betrayal. Available to watch on Amazon Prime.
While I appreciate the noble attempt to make a “cerebral” spy thriller, or an “anti-Bond” if you like, free of the usual action-packed scenes, explosions, car chases and gadgets, if this is the result, then please give me a Martini shaken and not stirred anytime!
The pace of this film is so slow that I found myself wishing I were watching a Michael Bay film, more than once.
There’s probably a good film somewhere to be made with this same story and possibly even these same actors, but having them spend most of the running time of the film talking to each other in a dimly-lit restaurant, as if this was a play on a stage, however slick it all looks and however hot the players are, doesn’t do All the Old Knives any favours.
Considering the plot is all about a terrorist attack on a plane, innocent victims at stake and finding a mole inside the CIA, it’s amazing how dull the proceedings are and how little tension runs throughout.
Everything here is so sombre, from the music to the slow pace of editing, to the lines exchanged between two people who are supposed to be madly in love, but seem to have as much chemistry as two frozen vegetables.
And no, having a gratuitous sex scene, with a fleeting view of Chris Pyne’s perfectly-chiselled butt (yes, I am jealous), and even quicker view of Thandiwe Newton’s breasts, doesn’t make it any more edgy or interesting or even real. In fact it brings me back to those cheesy ‘90s films by Paul Verhoeven, if anything… But again, I actually would prefer to be were watching one of those too.
Director Janus Metz spectacularly fails to inject any tension in the film. Even the constant time-jumps and different timelines end up mostly hurting the pace and the actual drama it’s trying to build rather than serving the story or creating any sense mystery.
At the end of the day, there’s no escape from the fact that this feels like a short story stretched beyond believe to fit a feature length movie.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick
All the Old Knives is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali
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