Starring Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Pryce and David Dawson.
Directed by Janus Metz Pedersen
There is nothing sadder than an espionage thriller which doesn’t hold your attention. All The old Knives is designed to exude the subtle suspenseful scent of John Le Carre’s world of intrigue and betrayal. It instead ends up looking like a very poor imitation of the Bourne movies and that too without the dexterous deviousness of the spy genre.
This is a pretentious Bourne Identity desperately seeking an identity and in failing to do, appearing as half-cooked as a pizza hurriedly withdrawn from an oven after an electricity failure. The product lacks crackle and fizz. And the chemistry between Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton is as persuasive as cheap rum being served up in expensive wine glasses.
They have all the right accessories, paraphernalia and postures. But the basic mutual passion to make their love story look intense and, yes, infinite, is completely missing. Pine and Newton play two CBI officers who are thrown into the vortex of a re-opened case .A plane hijack from the past with terrorists on board behaving as if they had just watched Neerja, is recreated to give us a feeling of what really happened.
But as we know about the spy genre by now, nothing is as it seems. This becomes more of a problem than a creative conceit for the screenwriter Olen Steinhauer who also wrote the novel on which this nervegrating drama is based.
Nothing moves in All The Old Knives,least of all the emotions between the “intense” lovers who are shown to be at dinner in a posh restaurant which looks suspiciously deluded of patronage. Maybe everyone fled after eating the bacon there. Pine looks like he was suffering from indigestion.
The waitress accidentally pours wine on Pine while Thandie and he dine. All the while the narrative skips and jumps from the present to flashbacks into the tenebrous past to establish a link between the terror bombing of a flight in 2012 and the current crisis of faith in the lead pair’s relationship.
While Chris Pine looks tired and in need of sleep(we can tell him a good remedy: watch your own film), Thandiwe Newton’s expressions of intense love look like an attack of migraine.
Oh yes, the pair has a sizzling love-making sequence where Pine gets into his birthday suit and gives viewers an ample view of his butt. If that sort of thing is meant to be a turn-on then I am afraid All The Old Knives is frozen in a time warp .
It is more Rebecca than Casablanca.More suggestions than resolutions.
The streets of London look fetching. I wish there was more outdoors here. Most of the time Pine and Newton are seen playing remember-when while the back ground score tries to be a bore.
The non-pivotal characters include the very talented Jonathan Pryce who at one point has to look into Pine eyes and say, “Are you accusing me of betraying my country. Do you know of the sacrifices I’ve made?”
None as great as our two hours which we allow to be squandered in the hope that some miracle would change the tumbling fortunes of this flaccid passion-less drama which ends with Chris Pine trickling blood from his nose and his face in the pricey bacon.
If only we cared.