There's been a real influx of spy thrillers over recent years, All the Old Knives the latest to be based on a novel where the author writes the screenplay. You'd think that would mean the film is in safe hands with someone to respect the source material but there's such a thing as a film playing it too safe.

Ex-lovers and spies Henry (Chris Pine) and Celia (Thandiwe Newton) meet over dinner to reminisce on their time together at Vienna station. The conversation moves to the disastrous hijacking of Royal Jordanian Flight 127, which ended in the deaths of all on board. That failure haunts the CIA to this day, and Henry seeks to close the book on that seedy chapter. Over a sumptuous dinner, truths are outed between the pair that will change their relationship forever.
Opening rather promisingly, it isn't long before All the Old Knives descends into a bit of a mundane experience that rather crawls to a finish. Written as a non-linear narrative, incorporating flashbacks to showcase the intimate relationship Henry and Celia shared all while the CIA faced a major failure, All the Old Knives stumbles over itself several times with a story that isn't compelling enough to remain invested in. 

There isn't even really a distinctive style from director Janus Metz, the film feeling rather flat as a result. It could do with some visual flair from Charlotte Bruus Christensen or a score from Jon Ekstrand and Rebekka Karijord that makes it feel as if there's something foul at play as the narrative unfolds. As a result, All the Old Knives has a TV movie presence which seems to be a major issue with a lot of films that head straight to streaming these days. 

Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton deliver interesting and truly believable performances as Henry and Celia, their pairing easily the film's most valuable asset. Pine, once again looking like Gary from Team America, has done the CIA thing before and effortlessly fits into the role while Newton approaches the role with the same tenderness mixed with a little tenacity to make their scenes together more engaging than the rest of the film. 

While it may not be the most thrilling spy thriller you could stumble upon, nor is it a film that will long be remembered once it drops on Prime Video this Friday, All the Old Knives is at least a short-lived experience that doesn't look to overstay its welcome and send its audience to sleep.

Verdict: ½


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