This article reveals the explained plot and the detailed events in Janus Metz’s All The Old Knives, revealing its meaning and storyline. We recommend you to read it only after watching the movie, and not before, in order to preserve the pleasure of the first vision.
All The Old Knives is a 2022 spy thriller film based on a 2015 novel, produced by Amazon Studios, with a top-notch cast, including Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Price and Chris Pine, among others. The film is distributed on Amazon Prime Video and features a very intricate and complex plot, which can be difficult to follow in every detail. This is why viewers who complete the vision feel the need for a complete explanation of the plot and the ending. In this article we will simplify the events in order to define how the story went, who the mole is, how he acted and why.
The film revolves around an airplane hijacking that occurred in 2012. During the film we will discover that that hijacking represented a failure of the American secret services (the CIA), because the negotiations were not successful and the hijackers had killed all the passengers (and themselves). As the plot unfolds, we will discover three important facts about that event:
- On the plane there was a CIA agent, Ahmed, who reported to the CIA what was happening on the plane, also suggesting that an attack could be carried out. Within a short time, the hijackers learn of the presence of the CIA agent on board, kill him and throw the body off the plane.
- Celia, from the CIA offices, scans the phone records of the office and discovers a suspicious call to an Iranian number, from her boss’s number. Anyone could have done it, but this means a very serious thing: there is a mole in the CIA office.
- Terrorists kill everyone because they receive false information that governments have no intention of cooperating. In reality, governments were taking steps to prepare for the eventuality of accepting the terrorists’ demands, but once the hijackers get the message of the end of each negotiation, they kill the passengers and commit suicide.
So the questions are: who is the CIA mole who released the information on Ahmed? How is it possible that the hijackers received false information, which resulted in the death of the hostages?
The plot and the ending, explained
To answer the main question: the mole in the CIA office is actually Henry, the protagonist interpreted by Chris Pine. It is him who gives the information on Ahmed, and it is him who makes the call from the department head’s phone. Moreover, that Henry was the mole is already known to Vick, the character of Laurence Fishburne who at the beginning of the film hired Henry to actually discover the mole: Vick already knows that Henry is the mole but does not know why he did it, so he asks (pretending) to Henry to find the imposter, knowing that this would lead to a solving meeting with Celia. Celia and Henry were having an affair at the time and therefore it is predictable that during their meeting the truth about why Henry had betrayed the CIA would have surfaced.
“Why” is the most complex part of the film, and also the most fascinating. What we discover in the film is that the mastermind behind that hijacking is Ilyas Shushani, a former informant of Henry’s that the CIA had given away to the Russians. Ilyas had been tortured for months and therefore held a grudge against Henry. In the pivotal moment of the plot, Ilyas meets with Henry, reveals his role behind the hijacking and asks him to call Celia. Henry learns that Celia has met right in that moment with one of Ilyas’ men, and she is risking her life. Ilyas puts Henry under great pressure and asks him for valuable information, or Celia will die. At that moment Henry reveals to Ilyas about the presence of Ahmed on the plane and the possibility of an attack.
In this way Henry saves Celia’s life. Henry is the mole, but he was forced to reveal that information and he did it for Celia’s sake, to save her life. When they return to the CIA office, Henry takes a moment alone to make that call from the chief’s office and give the false information that the negotiations are over, effectively causing the hostages to be killed. He does this to take the blame for the information leak and to protect his relationship with Celia. But that will be useless: that evening Celia and Henry will make love in a break from negotiations, and while Henry is showering, Celia sees an incoming call from an Iranian number. From there Celia realizes that Henry is the mole. But she will not betray him: rather she will break up with him and leave the CIA, starting a new life.
The ending scene
What happens in 2020 is that Henry, hired by Vick, has the dinner with Celia. In that dinner Henry should investigate who the mole was, even though it is himself. Celia knows in advance the reason for that dinner, because she was previously warned by the head of the CIA. So Celia prepares and takes personal revenge on Henry, before the meeting: she comes into contact with Karl, a member of Austrian intelligence who is still looking for those responsible for the failure of that operation, and reveals to him that Henry was the mole. Karl believes her, because even Ilyas, captured a few weeks earlier, had actually mentioned Henry’s name as a mole.
It is therefore established that in the dinner with Celia, Henry will die, poisoned with wine. But at that dinner Celia was tasked with finding out why Henry did it. When she discovers that he had done it as an act of love for her, the woman remains helpless to witness the death of her old lover, a death that she caused herself, when she did not yet know that Henry’s betrayal had occurred to save her. the life. That’s why Celia is upset as she exits the restaurant: she had just discovered that Henry was not an infamous traitor, but a man who loved her madly and had done everything to try to maintain the relationship with her, even after the failure of that mission.