Espionage and romance; two things that do not mix in the real world however, when combined like in Amazon’s latest original film All the Old Knives, the result is a 110-minute real world thriller that is oozing with intrigue and sexual chemistry.
When CIA reopens an investigation into a terrorist hijacking that resulted in the deaths of 120 people, agent Henry Pelham is assigned to lead the inquiry into his former colleagues. His focus shifts until landing on his former lover and former agent Celia Harrison. The film unfolds via flashback as Henry interrogates Celia over dinner and filling in the blanks of the events leading up to the tragedy.
Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton share a rare chemistry that makes their relationship feel full formed. This relationship is the main draw to the film as the disjointed narrative is a device best left to the maestro of disjointed narratives, Christopher Nolan. All the Old Knives does manage to wrap up the loose threads by the end of the film but jumping back and forth between 2012 and 2020 can be a bit disorienting when trying to piece the gigantic espionage puzzle.
Pine fully takes on the role of a CIA lifer but also that of a man fully in love. It is revealed that Henry was the operative who provided key information to terrorists thereby allowing the tragedy to unfold. He gave up the information in an effort to save Celia and while we are allowed to think throughout their dinner that Henry has Celia cornered, it is shown that she knew all along that he was the mole and has been planning this rendezvous and his capture all along.
This final revelation is heartbreaking as we realize that Celia has had to bear this information for years and regretting her inaction that may have saved lives if she had acted sooner. Upon breaking down in front of Henry and realizing that he has been poisoned as a final judgment, Celia asks him why. While love seems like a thin motivation given the tragic results, Henry sees glimpses of Celia’s beauty and intelligence all while forcing the audience to confront the harsh realization that we may not be able to make the noble decision if faced with the same circumstances.
VERDICT: 3.5 poisoned wine glasses out of 5
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Featured Image Credit: IMDb