2022, Movies

All the Old Knives (2022, Janus Metz)

This is a spy mystery film with a fairly big dose of romance which feels like it would have been a lot less of a mystery if it had been told in chronological order.

It’s a very talky film and it feels like it could have almost been a play, even though it was a novel. The vast majority of it unfolds in flashback (and even a flashback within a flashback) but is otherwise just people talking. The mystery at the heart of it feels like it would have been a lot less of a mystery had the film just been told chronologically. It’s one of those films where the style of the telling impacts the story more than the story.

A key part of the story is the past relationship of the two protagonists and so the film actually feels like a hybrid with a romance, or some kind of romantic mystery, because the degree you care about what happened has at least something to do with how much you care about why these two broke up. That’s a different twist, I guess, but it works better if you care about this relationship.

There are a bunch of things that don’t make a lot of sense, including things that don’t feel authentic about the their jobs. I didn’t write them down but there were definitely a few things about how the CIA office functioned and things they said about the hijacking that felt false. But, more importantly, there are some pretty major plot holes and things that just don’t seem believable. These involve spoilers so I won’t go into them, but it’s definitely one of those films that make less sense the more you think about it. (Also, as I alluded to before, had it been told chronologically, I’m not sure it would have made even this much sense.)

But otherwise, it’s well-acted and reasonably diverting.


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