Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.
Set in the late 1920’s, The Age of Shadows follows the cat-and-mouse game that unfolds between a group of resistance fighters 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.
As far as I’m aware this is the first Korean film I’ve ever seen and based on this it won’t be my last. Keeping with the firsts, it is also Warner Bros first time financing and distributing a Korean-language film as well. I doubt it will be there last either.
The Age of Shadows is an excellent double agent spy thriller with good set pieces, plenty of tension and at times is a quite brutal. I’ll say it now, there is a little bit of torture which won’t be for some people but it’s not lingered on to long but in honesty does paint a really ruthless picture of the Japanese regime. Which only adds to everything.
Despite the subtitles western audiences should enjoy this movie, it’s extremely polished and looks great. I also found it a fascinating insight to a culture and history that I know very little about.
You could argue that the run time of 140 minutes is a little long. Yet I wouldn’t say it necessarily out stays its welcome. I think I was just thrown off by the marketing. From the trailer I got the impression that the majority of the film, or at least the climax, would take place on the train looking for ‘the rat’. Now while the train act of this movie is by far the highlight it’s actually only one piece of the puzzle.
I recommend seeing The Age of Shadows, but you might have to wait until it comes out on DVD and Blu-ray as its run in cinemas near me, and presumably the rest of the country, is very short.