On the floor, All The Previous Knives bears loads in frequent with different entries within the overcrowded spy thriller style: intense espionage, terrorist threats, globetrotting places, pacy motion, twisty double-crossing, Chris Pine (with this and The Contractor, it’s considered one of two thrillers starring Pine popping out simply weeks aside).
The breakneck pre-credits sequence actually suggests as a lot, establishing the details of the narrative in swift expositionary scenes: years in the past, we’re informed, a flight was hijacked, and the CIA group tasked with apprehending the terrorists ends with failure. Within the current day, with many of the group’s members gone their separate methods, one agent should work out what actually occurred.
Each timelines, then and now, are hurriedly arrange earlier than we even get the title. Then the movie takes a breath, and guides us into its elliptical storytelling rigorously and with consideration. The course from Janus Metz Pedersen is crisp and clear-headed; the script, by Olen Steinhauer (adapting his personal novel of the identical title), favours dialogue-driven stress over gun-fights or motion. A lot of the drama merely unfolds in assembly rooms, eating places or wet pubs. The filmmakers are clearly thinking about depicting the nuts and bolts of espionage as a lot as something: assembly sources, establishing belief, strategising, negotiating. The result’s highly effective and suspenseful, regardless that we more-or-less know the end result of the hijacking, if not the mole.
What actually units it aside is the romantic and nearly psychosexual drama underpinning all of it.
What actually units it other than the standard Bourne clones, nevertheless, is the romantic and nearly psychosexual drama underpinning all of it. The narrative gadget that frames the movie is a reunion dinner between two former colleagues and lovers, Henry (Pine) and Celia (Thandiwe Newton), as they recall the disastrous occasions of the hijacking over positive wine and a three-course meal. There’s a rigorous professionalism (and, it needs to be stated, an nearly implausibly correct degree of element) to their reminiscences, muddied by their former romance. Some uncomfortable truths, inevitably, emerge. My Dinner With André, this most positively isn’t.
They’re each one another’s one-that-got-away, and the movie skilfully weaves their relationship into the broader spy plot. However above all that, there’s nonetheless one thing to be stated — within the old-school Hollywood sense — about simply watching two extremely lovely, charming individuals merely having fun with a meal whereas making eyes at one another. Some scenes, Pedersen merely permits their faces to fill the display screen in excessive close-ups, each actors promoting the years of remorse, loss and love. Pine and Newton are so good at this, and for all its posturing in direction of being a severe drama — and it’s largely profitable in that — it’s equally satisfying to look at film stars simply be film stars.