There’s nothing rusty about All The Old Knives, Borg/McEnroe director Janus Petz’s film for Amazon Prime Video. Filled with reflective surfaces, uncanny close-ups and mood lighting, All The Old Knives does as good a job dressing up a hokey plot as its characters do concealing their motives.
Central Intelligence Agency operative Henry (Chris Pine) reconnects with his former colleague and ex-lover Celia (Thandiwe Newton) eight years after a horribly handled plane hijack. Everybody on the plane died in the attack, including the Islamist plotters.
Henry’s boss Vick (Laurence Fishburne) has received information that somebody on the inside tipped off the hijackers. Might that be Bill (Jonathan Pryce), another former colleague? Or might Celia, who abruptly left Henry after a night of intense passion, be responsible?
Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s cinematography add gloss and sleekness to the old-fashioned deception that drives Olen Steinhauer’s screenplay, adapted from his novel of the same name. Deftly paced and economic to a fault at times, with much that is conveniently left unsaid, the film nevertheless manages to indict the immorality that underpins espionage as well as explore the contours of a raging love story within 101 minutes.
The leads are perfectly matched, each savouring the rare opportunity to be in a grown-up romance. Chris Pine unleashes his megawatt charm on Henry, while Thandiwe Newton finds the poignancy within her emotionally divided Celia. They turn up the heat in a tale that’s cold, clinical and engrossing in a fashion.