A Sexual, Atmospheric, Cerebral Spy Thriller

Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.
The plot of All the Old Knives centers upon a plane hijacking in Vienna in 2012. Among the crew, two CIA agents Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) and Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton) are involved and both are lovers. The question is was there someone in the agency who provided information to the hijackers? Seemingly a dead case, it is reopened years later, and so are all the old wounds. It seems that Celia is now married, and living in Carmel, California, in a spectacular home with husband and two young children. So this allows the story to feature a stupendous restaurant in Carmel as the backdrop for a lunch that lasts for hours, and segues into dinner. We are treated to moody, atmospheric shots of damp Vienna as well. Laurence Fishburne appears as a somber, glaring  boss and Jonathan Price is a highly-strung, henpecked husband also in the agency at that time, but now retired. 
This is a wonderful film with beautiful cinematography as low-key as much of the hushed dialogue. Except for some violence when the airplane is hijacked, and a totally wonderful (and perhaps gratuitous) steamy sex scene between Pine and Newton, this film is not easy going. Most American television consists of jump cuts, flash, and pizzazz. This isn’t thanks to Danish director Janus Metz, it is distinctly European in style, pacing, and emotion. Clearly, this was the intention. Chris Pine was an executive producer along with others. It has been said that Michelle Williams was first thought for the role of Celia, but time passed and Ms. Newton signed on. 
The intense dinner highlighted almost all close-ups, which built dramatic tension as did the odd plot devices. Only a few guests were dining over the hours spent at table, and the ominous bit of the waitress who served Pine a special wine nervously spilling it, and hysterically leaving never to return. She was replaced by the bartender who said she was pregnant and left, feeling ill. Hhmmm.
Famed author Olen Steinhauer wrote the screenplay from his New York Times best-selling book.
Curl up with some pate, cognac, and a lover, and enjoy the mounting tension and queasy plot twists together on Amazon Prime. The lovely, low-key sex scenes will help. 

Read Related Posts...