“Two CIA agents and ex-lovers (Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton) are brought back together years after a failed rescue attempt and forced to blur the lines between profession and passion in this deeply riveting tale of global espionage, moral dilemma and deadly betrayal.”

Director: Janus Metz
Writer: Olen Steinhauer
Staring: Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Pryce
Release Date: April 8, 2022

Is the fact that I like All The Old Knives (2022) despite the reviews being not positive a sign that I am getting old and turning into a “dad” who likes these “dad” type of movies?

This is a question that I am currently dealing with.

All The Old Knives centers around a pair CIA agents and ex-lovers, Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) and Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton). The hot and heavy couple worked together but saw their relationship and normal work life come to an abrupt end with a tragic hijacking of a plane. Everyone in the crew got messed up some how, and all of the old wounds are reopened when Henry is asked by his supervisor Vick Wallinger (Laurence Fishburne) to investigate how the hijacking was handled from the inside. All signs point to their being a mole within the agency.

Henry’s investigation reconnects him with Celia after many years of silence. Celia is married now with kids, and Henry is still pining for that alive-feeling he felt when he was with Celia. The sexual tension between them is palpable as they sit down for dinner in an isolated restaurant to talk about the case of the hijacking, and their lustful past.

In summation, All The Old Knives is a pair of very attractive people with a romantic past sitting down for a dinner conversation talking about political betrayal while also deciphering what happened between them in their past. It is a simple premise that relies on two performers rising up to a challenge and benefits if there is one small plot twist that sends the audience on a 90 degree turn.

I am going to get to spoilers below. So be forewarned.

The way All The Old Knives ends was beautifully bleak. There is not a happy ending.

Henry’s mission of finding out the truth about the thought-settled hijacked flight was actually set in motion by Celia and Vick. They knew, by connecting all the dots, that Henry was involved in some way, but they did not know to what extend. Celia was holding this secret for as long as she could, but eventually the truth could not be hidden and she felt now that the magnifying glass was broken out, she owed it to herself, and her old supervisors to see this mystery to fruition.

Come the end of the movie, we get the definitive timeline and we learn that Henry betrayed the CIA because the terrorist (who he had a prior relationship with before he turned militant) had Celia framed to take the fall if Henry did not help him. Henry gave up the plan and the secrets in order to save his love, the love that he just asked to move in with him. When he returns, he can’t get a hold of Celia and a crack has been permanently etched into their quickly vanished fairy tale lust and romance.

Thandiwe Newton is the best performer in All The Old Knives. Chris Pine is playing dashing and charming, but the way Newton is flirting has that tinge of sadness because she knows that she is leading a person she truly cares about to his demise. In the beginning she is fighting the emotions of betrayal, but by the end she is disgusted in herself and fighting her inner guilt now that she knows the truth. What makes it even more sad is that the truth doesn’t matter in the end, because the CIA got what they wanted closing a loose end that was dangling on a possible massive piece of internal affairs dynamite.

All The Old Knives is a Stanko type of movie. It focuses on the writing. It has a pace that is consistent, and the performances are solid all around. The conclusion is satisfying and (if we are being honest) unhappy and realistic. Will be it anywhere near the awards circuit, and will anyone know it existed in a few months? No, the answer is no. All The Old Knives is going to be a trivia on The Dozen in two years, and no one will know the answer…so be the hero and watch the movie and have an enjoyable experience with a piece of back pocket trivia knowledge.

STANKO RATING: A- (4.0/5 Stars)

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