REVIEW: All the Old Knives (2022)

In 2022, the world has changed. The last two major wars were stopped by a new invention: AI drones that can detect and destroy combatants before they enter the battle zone. Now humanity lives in peace with its creations watching over it like guardian angels for all time. But one woman knows better than anyone what’s really going on behind closed doors at Facebook headquarters, where she spends her days working as an engineer to optimize these bots

The “all the old knives 2021” is a review of the movie “All the Old Knives”. The film follows a man who, after his wife dies, becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her.


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All the Old Knives, Amazon Studios’ latest espionage thriller, slipped beneath the radar, as do many of these streaming projects. Spybrary, my favorite podcast (apart from the excellent shows in the Geeks + Gamers network, of course), was the only way I found out about it. This kind of picture is totally up my alley, and despite the fact that I hadn’t heard much about it, it soon became my most anticipated film in the near future. It’s also quite excellent. It isn’t perfect, and I can’t help but feel like something is missing, but All the Old Knives is a solid, fast-paced espionage thriller with strong performances and a complex storyline centered on a relationship that is on life support, if not dead.

Six years after a devastating terrorist assault in Austria, CIA investigator Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) is sent to follow up on a fresh lead provided by the tragedy’s newly detained and questioned mastermind: a traitor in the Agency’s Vienna station was assisting the attackers. Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton), Henry’s former girlfriend – and the most probable suspect — resurfaces throughout Henry’s inquiry.


The framework of All the Old Knives is what sticks out the most. The story is recounted in large part via flashbacks, which occur in a nonlinear form, making it difficult to maintain track of the chronology at points. It takes some getting accustomed to, and at the end, the importance of this storytelling style is evident, but it’s unsettling at first. However, after you’ve gotten into the film’s rhythm, the back-and-forth in time produces momentum that works in the film’s favor, energizing what might have been a plodding, treacherous plot.

Because All the Old Knives is mainly about two individuals reminiscing over dinner, that vibe is crucial. Everything revolves on Henry and Celia, two lovers who never expected to see each other again, but are pushed together by destiny in order to put an end to their failed romance. These sequences – or, more accurately, this moment, which is broken up across the several memories – are perfectly staged and easily relatable. Forget that they’re spies, the tension of reconciling with someone you once loved is at the heart of their dinner: the rush of blood when you see them again, the fear that you’ll say the wrong thing, the subtle flirting you shouldn’t do but can’t stop yourself from doing because it’s her. On each of their expressions, there is a combination of joy at seeing one other again and regret at the loss of what was once there, and Pine and Newton portray it well.

All the Old Knives

Filmmaking aids them in this endeavor. The dinner sequence in Janus Metz’s film All the Old Knives is shot considerably differently from the rest of the film. The sunshine beaming on Celia when Henry first sees her is one of the most prominent visual signals. The coloration, on the other hand, is golden, reflecting Henry and Celia’s fondness for one another, as well as their comfort and calm in each other’s company. In a flashback, another interrogation Henry conducts is gray, highlighting the coldness with which Henry does his business, pressuring someone to confess whether or not he is working with the enemy. Pay attention to the angles and framing with which Henry is shot in both segments for a hint as to what’s under the surface.

But it’s not just about the romance. Metz has an excellent eye for the trappings of an espionage thriller, and he successfully fits All the Old Knives into that genre. The romantic moments are sexual, not simply because of what is shown, but also because of what isn’t and when; they’re sometimes playful and teasing, as a pair would be with one other, and sometimes frenzied, as individuals who need to be loved would want. The scenes at the office are drab and brownish, representing the spies’ perception of their station: as a regular office where they have coffee and make reports before attending meetings, desensitized to the life-or-death subject matter until that tragic assault shocks them back to reality. The spycraft is simple but variable; it typically entails meeting with sources or suspects. Some are secret, taking place in dark subterranean parking lots or unoccupied rooms of a cultural facility during off hours. Others are more public, including as a contact’s family restaurant’s bustling kitchen or a British pub for an afternoon Scotch.

All the Old Knives

So, what keeps All the Old Knives from being an espionage classic, or at the very least one worth revisiting on a regular basis? It isn’t the acting; apart from Pine and Netwon, who are the true stars of the program, Laurence Fishburne (who is, regrettably, stuck in the “playing the boss” stage of his career) and Jonathan Pryce give the number one and number two people at the Vienna Station individuality and gravitas. Pryce’s position is a little more interesting than Fishburne’s, and he does an admirable job of keeping his character’s devotion – or lack thereof – close to his chest. Orli Shuka depicts the progression of a CIA asset as the reality about how his handlers think of him becomes obvious in only a few moments. The remainder of the cast is good, lacking the necessary resources to make an impact on the film but performing well anyway.

I believe the issue is one of length. All the Old Knives is based on Olen Steinhauer’s book of the same name, for which he also penned the screenplay. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t comment on how true this adaptation is – though, given that the author is also the screenwriter, I suppose it is – but I believe there is some missing information on the screen. I’d have loved to learn more about some of the supporting characters; as it is, the mole’s identity can only be a few of individuals for the revelation to be gratifying (which it very much is). A larger pool of genuine suspects would have been preferable. I also wish there was more information about Henry and Celia’s personal life. Whenever we see them in the flashbacks, they’re either working or having sex, and while the abundance of the latter is much appreciated (how is this movie sexier than the more romanticized spy films of the modern era, the Bonds and Missions: Impossible?), their love would have been better demonstrated with some scenes of them simply talking about mundane things, going to the theater, even taking long walks through the snow. The quick pace is enjoyable, but I would have wanted to sacrifice part of it in exchange for deeper character development; no amount of visual glitz will compensate for that.

Plot – 8
Acting – 8 points
Editing/Directing – 8
7 – Music/Sound
Spycraft has a rating of 7 out of 10.



All the Old Knives is a lighthearted espionage film with strong performances and well-executed graphics that might have benefited from greater character development to sell the core romance as well as the mole hunt that drives the plot.

The “All the Old Knives” is a film that was released in 2022. It’s about a group of people who are on a quest to find all the old knives in the world. The film has been filmed at various locations around the world and you can watch them on Reference: all the old knives filming locations.

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