All the Old Knives are a story about a couple who once met after a crucial time. The fact that they are both spies adds complexity to the narrative. In 2012, when Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) and Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton) were deported to Vienna, a terrorist group called Al-Da’irat hijacked Flight 127 and demanded the release of their allies in Austrian and German prisons.
CIA officers at the Vienna police station tried to end the incident without losing innocent lives, but in the end, they failed. Terrorists use Sarin gas to kill themselves and everyone on the plane. Celia leaves the agency with Henry shortly thereafter. She gets married and has children. In 2020, she lives with her family in Carmel-by-the-Sea. This is where Henry came to investigate Flight 127. As with most movies and TV shows, the title ‘All the Old Knives’ conveys important narrative elements.
What Is the Meaning of All the Old Knives Film Title?
All the Old Knives are based on the 2015 novel by Olen Steinhauer, who also wrote the film’s script. Throughout his career, Steinhauer has written a number of spy novels, including the ‘Milo Weaver series. ‘With All the Old Knives,’ he has accomplished something extraordinary.
Despite being a film that delights the spies, ‘All the Old Knives’ have a heavy history of dialogue. At least part of the film took place at the table Henry and Celia were chatting. The film goes back and forth over time to create a very effective sense of tension between the narratives.
In an interview, Steinhauer explained how he won the title. Encouraged by the line “All the old rusty knives on my back, I drive yours,” from Gaius Julius Phaedrus ‘Fables’. Born in Macedonia, Phaedrus was a contemporary Roman artist who created a collection of Aesopic fables in Latin using a senarii or iambic meter.
Steinhauer pointed out that the title does not encourage the story, which came first. The author of ‘The Cairo Affair’ admitted in the same interview that he was not at all right about the titles. However, ‘All the Old Knives is one of the few situations where everything has worked out for him. According to Steinhauer, the line is about revenge, which is in ‘All the Old Knives’ as an important subtitle.
Celia found out that Henry had measles, but she did not tell anyone because of their history together. When Henry arrived to investigate, she feared that she and her family would be put in danger. So, you get to the CIA. Her revelation gives the agency the assurance they need about Henry’s actions.
They arranged for Celia to meet Henry at a restaurant where all the staff and guests would be ambassadors. Then they poisoned Henry’s wine glass. When Henry starts drinking, he closes his end.