The Stream: Slow… deadly Tetanus slow burn
The Big Screen: Solid acting and the ending is truly felt
The Final Bill: Slow burn flick that is boring in concept but not in spirit for streaming– S2S: Movie Review
Director: Janus Metz
Writers: Olen Steinhauer (based on the book by)
Stars: Goksin Erdemli, Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton
Rating: R (nudity, strong language, violent situations, blood)
Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes
Production Companies: Amazon Studios, Barry Linen Motion Pictures, Big Indie Pictures
Platform: Amazon Prime released April 8, 2022
Welcome back, Streamers. Somewhere in the world there are two CIA operatives and former lovers that will meet up at a fancy restaurant to go over an old case that has reared its ugly head. They’ll discuss and attempt to resolve whether and how the organization was compromised all those years ago. By that, I just meant that’s what occurs in All The Old Knives that debuted on Prime Video last weekend. Let’s see what we thought of this flick, shall we?
The movie looks and feels really well done… BUT – and that’s when you know there’s a problem. The movie just feels off. As the plot unfolds, BORINGLY I might add, it feels more straightforward and obvious than it wants to be. That is a problem for a thriller. The idea of a movie that really is just two people talking over dinner and drinks doesn’t scream thriller. The way the story is told as just a recounting of events and conversations doesn’t help either. I’ll say the movie is an extremely slow, like glacially slow, burn but it does slightly turn up at the end. I think that’s what they were going for and what I’ll warn you about with this movie. It’s slow but you have to give it time to unfold. If this were a movie in theaters, I’d be more skeptical but because this is a streaming flick you can always come back to it. Just have some patience.
Thandiwe Newton, Chris Pine, Orli Shuka and Abdul Alshareef all do a really bang up job in their individual roles. I’d say better in the flashback scenes than in the present, but the core of the movie really is about the past rather than the present. As an aside: I wonder if this movie was told chronologically rather than in flashbacks if it could have been more intense. In my opinion, the set-up of a conversation in a restaurant was just boring until they really got going with the backstory. I understand where they were going with it by the end but it felt a bit pandemic-y like they didn’t want to have too many actors in one location anymore so they needed to re-shoot it movie to make it safe. “Okay, let’s have Thandiwe and Chris talk about the movie we were really trying to make.” Anyway, Chris and Thandiwe have strong on-screen chemistry and tension is developed in that relationship, which makes their scenes palpable at times (might just be Thandiwe when I think about it). Orli, as a dark horse, quickly became my guy by the end of the movie.
Overall, All the Old Knives gives me less intense Argo vibes. It’s a pretty solid story, but the execution of the storytelling knocks off some of the thrill. Coming from Prime Video, this is a solid streaming option but not necessarily something you have to see right away. Grab a bowl of popcorn and a bottle of wine and eat dinner with Thandiwe and Chris.