The Age of Shadows

MILJEONG

Kim Jee woonSouth Korea139 minutes201614AColourKorean Japanese

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Korean superstars Song Kang-ho, Han Ji-min, and Gong Yoo headline the latest from cutting-edge director Kim Jee woon (The Good, the Bad, the Weird), an epic-scale period thriller about a double agent sent to infiltrate a band of freedom fighters during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1920s.

Set at the end of the 1920s during the Japanese occupation of Korea, The Age of Shadows is an epic period drama, a gripping thriller, and an engaging spy story. Kim Jee woon's film brings together a cast of marvellous actors, including Song Kang ho and Gong Yoo, to tell a tale of friendship and vengeance.

Lee Jung-chool (Song Kang ho), a Korean working for the Japanese police, is tasked with exposing the Korean resistance's second-in-command, Kim Woo-jin (Gong Yoo). To gather intelligence on the group, Lee starts to hang out with Kim, who runs a photography studio as a cover for his underground activities. But after coming in close contact with the rebel fighters, some of whom were once his friends, Lee's mind is clouded by doubts about his dirty work for the occupying forces. Lee's allegiances shift, his employers begin to suspect him, and now he is both hunter and hunted. In a breathtaking sequence set on a train carrying explosives from Shanghai to Korea, Lee helps the freedom fighters uncover a traitor among them and get to their destination — where a cruel destiny awaits.

In the complex role of a secret agent poised between two worlds, Song delivers an amazing performance that finds time for moments of soul-searching amidst the action and excitement. Rising Korean star Gong does what is arguably his best work yet as the stern, caring, and beloved leader of the freedom fighters. Highly entertaining even as it shines light on a dark period of recent Korean history, Kim Jee woon's The Age of Shadows is the work of a versatile visual stylist who is justifiably one of Korea's most prominent film directors.

GIOVANNA FULVI

ResistanceEast AsiaAction + Adventure