‘All The Old Knives’ Review: A Sultry Adaptation of a Slow Burn Espionage


Amazon Studios’ latest espionage thriller All The Old Knives starring Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton is a lustful, well put together adaptation.

Based on the novel by Olen Steinhauer, All The Old Knives follows Henry (Pine) as he investigates Celia (Newton), a past flame from their days as CIA intelligence officers in Vienna. She is now under suspicion of having been a mole when they worked on preventing a hijacking together on Turkish Airlines Flight 127.

Right off the bat, Newton and Pine hook viewers with their incredible on-screen chemistry it was almost unbelievable they haven’t worked together before. Much of the movie is spent sitting across from each other at a restaurant in Carmel By The Sea, but there are callbacks to their escapades as fated lovers. As you might imagine, it’s not an action-packed, fast-paced film. Quite the contrary, actually; a slow burn until the end, director Janus Metz Pedersen was able to pull so much emotion out of the scenes.

All The Old Knives was filmed in the beginning days of the COVID pandemic in London when restrictions were far harsher on the entertainment industry. Because of this, many of the scenes have very few people in them. Pedersen found ways around this by formulating a point-of-view based approach which allowed for a much smaller scaled production. Basically, if you’re going in hoping for a revamped Mr. and Mrs. Smith, or a film that will reinvent the genre, look elsewhere. The “spying” part of this romantic spy thriller lacks depth, where it could have really shined.

It’s very commendable that Pine continues to push the envelope for himself in the mold of conventionally attractive men in Hollywood. At this stage in his career, starring in two back to back straight to streaming films released in the same week may look like career self-sabotage. However, he’s been very vocal that this was one of the strongest scripts he’s ever read (so much so he signed on as a producer). With Steinhauer at the helm as a writer, it’s a very earnest, beautifully shot, and pretty accurate adaptation of its source material.

All The Old Knives is now playing in theaters and streaming on Prime Video.

Haley joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2019 as a Writer and Editor. Her main fandoms include Criminal Minds, Wrestling, and The Walking Dead. You can find her on Twitter @haleyanne_.

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