Expectations are likely to kill All the Old Knives, which is more about relationships between spies than it is about spy action - Shadow Recruit II, this isn't, despite the participation of Chris Pine. And yet, there's a lot of procedural spycraft here, namely how the CIA reacts to a hijacking, how they work with contacts, etc. So I was more than fine watching a mystery unspool over dinner between old flames - Thandiwe Newton being the other half of that equation - going back and forth in time, changing your assessment of just what happened or indeed, is happening at any given time. In the background, a failed mission that has taken its toll on all agents involved. In the foreground, an aborted romance that did the same. Throughout, a game of trust and mistrust played between the characters and the audience. At the end, deep ironies I don't think we were expecting. Quieter than most spy thrillers, but not less paranoid, no less tense, and no less engaging... unless you're looking for something else.
Best bits: The son defending the father as "the best leader here" was kind of touching, wasn't it?