Watched “All the old knives “ on Prime. Coming straight to the point, ratings on IMDB don’t do justice to the movie.
In the face of it, it’s about the workings of the NSA the premier antiterrorist agency in US. In particular about one single episode of a plane hacking and how the agency scrambles up its response in a hurry, to handle the unprecedented event. Which sadly ends in a disaster. A few years later the agency comes to know that there was a mole in the agency. An inside person who helped the hijackers. And the story moves on to its second premise of finding the mole.
In this aspect this movie is found wanting on some aspects. The script, the editing, the functioning of the station office, dialogue and the investigative processes shown are not up to the mark. At least not, when compared to movies like “Bourne series” or the famous yet more farcical later sequels of “Mission Impossible. That leads to the low ratings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.
But as one keeps on watching the movie, it changes it’s tone and tenor and at that point one realises, that this is not a spy movie but masquerading as one. And underneath that superficial layer of spy story, there is a solid script of moral dilemmas, unrequited love, the circle of life or karma as one may call it and the ultimate sacrifice. But most importantly it’s about passionate love as seen from two different perspectives. When both of them are in the dark about each other and each other’s motives.
Then for most of the part, the movie shifts to a dinner meet venue, between the two people who had loved each other in the past but have moved on in life now. There are flashbacks to fill in the gaps where words won’t be enough, keeping one entertained as well as moving the story forward, inch by inch.
The music adds to the melancholy atmosphere and also deepening it. Especially effective are the close ups of both the lead actors and there are lot of them. Some extreme showing only a part of their face on the whole screen. But that combined with the emotive excellence of both lead actors leads the viewer right into their emotional turmoil. As if the viewer is there with them and observing everything in first person.
As one is caught up in trying to find out the answers to the questions raised by the script, (that of finding the mole), one may miss the finer nuances on display, through the subtle yet intense acting. Chris Pine emoting through his eyes is altogether on an another plane. Thandive Newton is not far behind. Especially in tender moments. Conveying through eyes, the still lingering love between the two. In these scenes the director comes on into his own and handles them to bring out the tenderness and intensity perfectly. Both the lead actors have done a terrific job and display the changing emotions from professionalism, to love and suspicion and in the end despair and pain. The review won’t be complete, without mentioning the look in Chris Pines eyes, in the last frame. Shows every emotions going through his mind and almost sums up the movie.
If you can shut off a few “whys and but’s” you may have in your mind, it’s a movie worth watching.
And if you can get immersed in it, then it’s a touching story which will linger long, after you have switched off your telly. Especially Chris Pines words in the dying moments of the movie, “ I had a choice and I chose You” will stay with you for long.
Very well written Bro’! Now I am seriously thinking that you should try your hands in some print media as a column writer or something of your choice…
Thanks Rahul. Trying my hand at everything. Let’s see what sticks.
Excellent write and right on. A true moral dilemma, boldly told. I think the close and constant proximity to those others that matter most, (due to the pandemic) made the restaurant scenes feel a bit claustrophobic at the time and had made many feel uncomfortable. I think the film will be visited. If such things are allowed today. Again well written.
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Thanks a lot for going through the review. It’s a bit on the longer side and I really appreciate your reading it.
Wrote the review as I found people were taking the movie for a spy thriller and that sort of put them off.
It was my pleasure.
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