The Age of Shadows (2016)


Critic 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.


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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 (42) | Top Critics (10)

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…

The screenwriters, Lee Ji-min and Park Jong-dae, embellish this crafty scenario with no shortage of ingenious complications, effectively doubling the number of double agents at every turn.

Sep 22, 2016 | Full Review…

Patriotism and self-interest clash powerfully in "The Age of Shadows," a stylish and morally complex thriller set largely in Japanese-occupied 1920s Seoul.

Sep 22, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Age of Shadows

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 Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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