All the Old Knives review – underwhelming and lacking depth

April 7, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
Amazon Prime, Film Reviews, Streaming Service
2.5

Summary

All the Old Knives is an underwhelming and underdeveloped spy film with shallow depth.

2.5

Summary

All the Old Knives is an underwhelming and underdeveloped spy film with shallow depth.

This review of the Amazon original film All the Old Knives review does not contain spoilers.

There may be nothing I love more than a good old-fashioned spy film. All the Old Knives is an underwhelming and underdeveloped spy film with a shallow depth. Yes, it is a handsome-looking film. However, the screenplay doesn’t begin to engage the viewer and pull them into the story, which is a staple of the genre. You then start to think, what was the point of the entire process?

The main issue with the adaptation of spy novelist Olen Steinhauer’s standalone book? The main focus is not on the craft or even the development of counterintelligence. Mr. Steinhauer left those addictive and intoxicating morsels on the cutting room floor. This entire design is an exercise to focus the viewer’s attention on an almost passion-free romance that somehow ties into the film’s reveal. The result is a payoff that lacks a satisfying cat and mouse chase. Ultimately, when you look back at what transpired, the story does not add up and leaves the viewer feeling cheated by the experience.

The film never goes far past surface-level intrigue, directed by Danish filmmaker Janus Metz Pedersen (Borg vs. McEnroe). This is a letdown since it has such a solid premise. Here, a veteran operative, Henry Pelham (Chris Pine), is assigned to interview his former colleagues (Jonathan Pryce, Laurence Fishburne, and Thandie Newton) to piece together the hijacking and murder of an entire plane full of passengers years prior. One of them could have been the mole within the agency.

As Pine’s Pelham begins to interrogate them, the real problem is weaving in a romance between Pelham and Newton’s Celia Harrison. The subplot slowly becomes more prevalent as the film goes on. It is gradually equal to or almost even more about their history years before that tragedy on the tarmac. 

This all leads to the All the Old Knives big twist that is designed to give you the feeling (and the cold cliche) that no one gets away clean. Sure, the film has a particular style and a handful of talented actors to keep you interested, but as we outlined at several points, why does it all matter? All I can say is this film should be used by every HR department that office romances are never a good idea.

What did you think of the Amazon film All the Old Knives? Comment below!

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