While Korea is occupied by the Japanese Army in 1933, the resistance plans to kill the Japanese Commander. But their plan is threatened by a traitor within their group and also the enemies' forces are hunting them down.
A widowed father and taxi driver who drives a German reporter from Seoul to Gwangju to cover the 1980 uprising, soon finds himself regretting his decision after being caught in the violence around him.
Set in the late 1920s, The Age of Shadows follows the cat-and-mouse game that unfolds between a group of resistance fighters trying to bring in explosives from Shanghai to destroy key Japanese facilities in Seoul, and Japanese agents trying to stop them. A talented Korean-born Japanese police officer, who was previously in the independence movement himself, is thrown into a dilemma between the demands of his reality and the instinct to support a greater cause.Written by
This film is Warner Bros. first Korean production. See more »
In the train one of the resistance members open the pocket watch with QUARTZ inscription on dial. Second hand of the watch moves in distinct steps reaffirming they have a quartz movement inside. Quartz watch was not invented in 20s and was not available till late 60s. See more »
[testifying before the judge]
I always adhere to the work of the police.
[He sighs, and continues hoarsely]
If the mission is successful, I will be promoted to Superintendent. I always give my utmost in police operations. I...
[He pauses, and sighs again, but this time his sigh trembles slightly]
I have only to fulfil my duty as a Japanese police officer.
[He finds himself close to tears]
I'm not a member of the Heroic Corps. I just wanted to manipulate Kim Woo-jin.
[...] See more »
Another Stellar & Sophisticated Addition To Kim Jee-woon's Wide-Ranging Filmography
From the writer-director of South Korean masterpieces like A Bittersweet Life, The Good, the Bad, the Weird & I Saw the Devil, The Age of Shadows finds the revered filmmaker tackling yet another genre with confidence & comfort, for his latest is a period drama with elements of action & thriller that's sophisticated in all filmmaking aspects and remains a tense, riveting ride for the majority of its runtime.
Set in Japanese-occupied Korea during the late 1930s, the story of The Age of Shadows follows a Korean-born Japanese policeman who's tasked with the operation to root out remaining members of his country's resistance movement but finds himself torn between following his superiors' orders or supporting a greater cause by helping the resistance fighters bring explosives from Shanghai to Seoul.
Deftly written & stylishly directed by Kim Jee-woon, who's undeniably one of world cinema's most versatile filmmakers, The Age of Shadows opens with an expertly choreographed sequence which showcases Jee-woon's quick grasp of genre elements and how to stage, execute & elevate those moments with effortless ease. Jee-woon's direction is top-notch and he keeps raising the stakes once all the board pieces are set.
Production design team recreates its period setting in meticulous detail. Cinematography employs the camera in an energetic fashion and is at its finest during moments of action, plus its skillful use of lighting & colour palette impart a vintage look n feel to its frames. Editing is outstanding, for the narrative retains its tight structure for the most part and raises the tension in a steady fashion but it tumbles by an extent in the third act.
Coming to the performances, The Age of Shadows features a talented cast in Song Kang-ho, Gong Yoo & Han Ji-min with Lee Byung-hun & Park Hee-soon in cameo roles. Kang-ho plays the Korean- born police officer whose shifting allegiance forms the core of this movie and delivers an assured performance, Yoo is equally impressive in the role of a key resistance figure while Byung-hun only appears in one sequence yet leaves a lasting influence.
On an overall scale, The Age of Shadows is a highly gripping example of its genre that guarantees quality entertainment with its cleverly constructed & palpably tense cat-n-mouse premise and is another successful addition in Kim Jee-woon's wide-ranging filmography. Even though it isn't as breathtaking as his finest works, it still boasts numerous moments that finds the director in prime form and will manage to satisfy majority of its viewers, if not all. Definitely worth a shot.
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