The Age of Shadows

Critics Consensus

The Age of Shadows justifies its imposing length with a richly detailed period drama whose sprawling size is matched by strong acting, impressive craft, and narrative depth.



Total Count: 45


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,353
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Movie Info

Lee Jung-chool (SONG Kang-ho), a Korean police captain in the Japanese police force, is given a special mission to infiltrate the armed resistance fighting for Korean independence. He approaches Kim Woo-jin (GONG Yoo), a leader of the resistance. These two men who stand on opposite sides of their historical era, each knowing the identity and intentions of the other, become close without revealing their inner thoughts. Meanwhile intel is being leaked on both sides, and no one knows who the informants are. Members of the resistance meet in Shanghai to obtain explosives that will be used to destroy facilities of the Japanese Headquarters in Seoul, while the Japanese police follow them and gather in Shanghai. The pursued and the pursuers, locked in an operation where each side uses the other and is thrown into a confusion of secret enmity and conciliation. Meanwhile, a train carrying explosives passes the border and heads towards Seoul....

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Song Kang Ho
as Lee Jung-chool
Yoo Gong
as Kim Woo-Jin
Han Ji-min
as Yun Gye-soon
Park Hee-soon
as Kim Sang Ho
Um Tae-goo
as Hashimoto

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Critic Reviews for The Age of Shadows

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (45)

  • The action is lengthy but well constructed, particularly a sequence on a wood-panelled steam train, but the torture scenes and occasional severed toes may try some viewers.

    Mar 24, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • At 140 minutes, The Age of Shadows is a film that peaks early and ends late. Still, there is an upside to this ponderousness.

    Mar 24, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • This film certainly believes in giving the audience bang for their buck: although it's a little over-extended.

    Mar 24, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Kim sometimes loses the rhythm of his spy thriller, but he's such a confident filmmaker-and his leading man such a magnetic presence-that he quickly gets its back.

    Sep 23, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • You'd be hard-pressed to find a more lavishly staged staged chunk of pulp nonsense.

    Sep 23, 2016 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • For this director, exposition can't hold a candle to elegantly staged shootouts. And who can blame him. He knows his strengths.

    Sep 22, 2016 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Age of Shadows

  • Jul 25, 2017
    Jee-woon Kim isn't coy about the narrative, we know where the character's loyalties lie and who/what they are playing. You'd think this would suck the tension out of this kind of movie, but it merely shifts the plot's focus to more interesting areas.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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