The Age of Shadows

The Age of Shadows (2016)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 196 users
Reviews: 4 users

Lee Jung Chool once had connections to the Korean independence movement, but he now works as a police officer for the Japanese occupation's forces. He receives an order to take down the leaders of the Heroic Corps, an anti-Japanese resistance organization. But while Lee wants to keep his favorable position with the Japanese, he begins to question himself while chasing Kim Jan Ok, a key resistance fighter who used to be his read moreclassmate.
Then Lee meets art dealer Kim Woo Jin, whom he suspects is the regional leader of the group, and whose antique shop is a front for a scheme to smuggle explosives from Shanghai into Seoul. Both men are well aware of each other's true identities and intentions, but get closer to each other seeking out more information. Jung Che San, the leader of the Heroic Corps, wants to turn Lee—all while Lee is being hounded and watched by the suspicious officer Hashimoto. Conflicted over duty and loyalty, Lee knows he could become a traitor or ally to either side.
(Source: Written by MyDramaList)

  • Native title:

    밀정
  • Also Known as:

    Miljung; Secret Agent;

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Jianne
3 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Feb 13, 2017
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
Renowned South Korean director, Kim Jee-woon returns after a 3-year hiatus in the country's Best Foreign Film entry, "The Age of Shadows". Like Woon's other films, (I Saw the Devil, A Bittersweet Life), Shadows is an action-packed cat-and-mouse thriller extravagant.

Shadows has an amazing line up: Sang Kang-ho (Memories of Murder, Thirst), Gong Yoo (Train to Busan, A Man and a Woman) and cameo appearance from Lee Byung-hun (A Bittersweet Life, Inside read more Men) whom Kim has worked previously and Um Tae-Goo (Coin Locker Girl, Veteran).

Pulled at the edge of your seat from start to finish, Kim doesn't disappoint tossing action sequences and twists that he carefully crafts and builds in suspense, only to laid them out with the greatest satisfaction, it leaves you hungry for more.

Just like "I Saw the Devil" and "A Bittersweet Life", Kim starts Shadows with little-to-nothing description of what's going out, only to follow it up with an action-filled chase scene, an amputated toe nail and blood splashed across the wall.

Shadows' 30 minutes train sequence is one of the best I've ever seen. This is the juice. It builds the plot as much as it shapes it and moves it, that includes the characters too. Accompanied by a more menacing version of Ravel's Bolero, the adrenaline just doesn't stop. I, for one, had to pause the film just so I could breathe. Kim brings us from compartment to compartment from character to character from discoveries to discoveries.

Cinematographer Kim Ji-Young does a fine job of transporting us to a 1920s setting of South Korea and Shanghai (the accuracy may be question but it looks beautiful nonetheless) with retro-like colors and saturated tones. Kim ravishes in extremism at times, with loud shoot outs, dialogues delivered in sinister whispers, loud slapping sounds, to torture scenes that likens to his other film, "I Saw the Devil".

Kim channels his narrative into powerful loyalty that seems like The Age of Shadows take a patriotic approach but ultimately, this thrill-filled film is entertaining as much as it is greatly crafted.
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xXabsintheXx
4 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Feb 10, 2017
  • Overall 8.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.5
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
Have you ever watched Gaksital (Bridal Mask)?
Then you'll probably get a good idea about the time this movie is playing in. A Korean citizen (or Joseon person as it was called back then) who joined the Japanese forces and became a high-ranking police officer. And a group of Joseon citizen who secretly fight for their country's independence.

What I noticed about those kind of Korean movies is that they take their read more time to tell their story. It is very slow paced as the first half of the film is being used to set every detail in its proper place and to build the overall construction. So, don't let yourself be fooled by this phony silence that only tries to hide the inevitable threats that lie in the shadows. They will explode once in a while and keep you excited.

Although I could sympathize with people who get bored because of its long and calm progress... If you allow yourself to dive into this foggy story you will be rewarded at the end. You won't see it coming until it's already happening. Then you just sit there, watch blankly and feel that undeniable pressure in your chest.

As the movie shines with many ~high-ranking actors, there's only one that truly outclasses everyone else here. And that's Song Kang Ho. I already watched some of his other movies but never was I captivated by him the way I was here, with this performance. I didn't notice it immediately. But suddenly one scene, one moment, one gesture. And he killed it. And me. He caught me off guard and brought me to tears.

Sadly, I can't say the same for Gong Yoo. He was good, no doubt. And he also had moments where his character shined but his overall personality stayed too shallow. Even Lee Byung Hun's short appearance had more impact on me.

If there's one other thing I would complain about, then it would be that I missed some more light on the actual situation of the Joseon people during that time.

Altogether:
Recommended for those who have patience and don't mind slowly enveloping stories. People, who are interested in this period of time. And for people who don't mind a little blood. There's no exaggerating amount of it but some scenes make me advise you to not eat while watching if you're sensible to those things.
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Comments (25)

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  • Reply
    usagi Apr 1, 2017

    Leads were really fantastic. But Han Ji Min's character really threw me off...why the heck would someone like her wear a bright *red* hat the whole time (and no one say anything about it)?? Great for not attracting attention and evading police...

  • Reply
    Fran Mar 11, 2017

    Great movie and a wonderful cast! The ending was exciting.

  • Reply
    blg Feb 14, 2017 - edited

    Does anyone knows what was written on the wall at last scene? It wasnt in the subtitles >.<

    • Reply
      risingsun Mar 31, 2017
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    minhsuga Jan 13, 2017 - edited

    Just leaving a comment in case any kind soul would like to update me once better subs are up. The current subs on kissasian are a mess.

    • Reply
      DragonAlien Apr 21, 2017

      You're welcome. ;)

    • Reply
      Panda Apr 21, 2017

      Too alternative for me. Thanks

    • Reply
      usagi Apr 21, 2017

      Not sure what countries can access which, but you can stream it from regular movie sites such as 123movies. I normally avoid those unless I really can't access the movie elsewhere, as they come with tons of lso cookies and I wouldn't be surprised if there's adware too...but if you have the right cleanup stuff on your browser, it's not really a problem. You can usually find the bigger Asian films that had international releases with good dvd-quality subs.

    • Reply
      Panda Apr 21, 2017

      The problem is i dont know how to load subtitles on my PC or phone. But on my ipad it shows a button called load subtitles from device even if you are streaming on sites like myasiantv or anyother site. I guess i have to google these things to learn how to DL subtitles on pc and stuff

  • Reply
    VaniaGuerreiro Jan 8, 2017

    Gong Yoo + train = magic.

  • Reply
    Maria Dec 10, 2016

    It was really amazing! So realistic! And that ending! Tragic yet epic.

  • Reply
    miyuki993 Dec 7, 2016 - edited

    Where can I watch it?? ㅠㅠ

  • Reply
    palak Sep 22, 2016

    Wow Gong Yoo is on a roll! Train to Busan was a record-shattering blockbuster and this movie is on it's way to become a record-shattering blockbuster. And his new drama looks extremely promising! The writer of Secret Garden and DOTS and a talented cast, so it'll definitely get good response.

  • Reply
    Sora Sep 17, 2016

    Excited to see Gong Yoo and Song Kang Ho in a movie together

  • Reply
    KoriNeko18 Sep 13, 2016

    I'm waiting for this (because Shin Sung Rok and Song Kang Ho! <3) ;; Sounds like it'll be heavy/intense... Hopefully it'll be subbed?

  • Reply
    ArvisJaggamar May 31, 2016 - edited

    I enjoyed Shin Sung Rok in YWCFTS but he's even better in Liar Game. Not too sure about this film's subject matter, though.

    • Reply
      Johnson-Shampoo Sep 8, 2016 - edited

      Song Kang ho is a guaranteed blockbuster .
      All his movies hit.
      Even Quentin Tarantino has 3 of his movies as an all time favorites.
      So check em out

  • Reply
    vanni May 21, 2016 - edited

    No comments for this yet? Holy moly I expect this to be great.. 2 of my favorite actors (Gong Yoo and Shin Sung Rok). Why do I have the feeling that Shin Sung Rok will be an antagonist again?! :D

Details

  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

    Movie
  • Release Date:

    Sep 7, 2016
  • Duration:

    2 hr. 20 min.

Statistics

  • Score:

    8.2 (scored by 196 users)
  • Ranked:

    #13344
  • Popularity:

    #1763

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