The Age of Shadows

2016

Action / Drama / History / Thriller

81
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 5532

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Downloaded 386,527 times
April 19, 2017 at 09:47 AM

Director

Cast

Byung-hun Lee as Jung Chae-San
Kang-ho Song as Lee Jung-Chool
Richard Epcar as Art Collector
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.02 GB
1280*534
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 20 min
P/S 11 / 28
2.15 GB
1920*800
English
NR
23.976 fps
2hr 20 min
P/S 4 / 28

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Red-Barracuda 7 / 10

Good quality Korean spy thriller

Set in 1920's Japanese occupied Korea, a Korean police captain who works for the oppressors is set the task of infiltrating a resistance group.

The Age of Shadows is a period spy film which educated me on some matters I hitherto did not know anything about regarding Korean history. It is a very solid bit of film-making with strong production values evident throughout. The look of the film faultlessly captures the era and the colour scheme has a slightly sepia tinged look which suggested the past pretty effectively. It is a film which is pretty plot-driven but it also focuses on the conflict between duty, loyalty and patriotism. It is essentially a thriller though and it is certainly successfully suspenseful quite often, with an extended sequence on-board a train particularly well done in this regard. It is also very brutal at times too, especially in the scenes in the Japanese torture chamber which had me actively cringing at the atrocities played out on screen. It is maybe a little too standard in approach to provide much in the way of surprises but it still nevertheless delivers its material very well and it is additionally a good thing to see a thriller with a topic which hasn't been covered too often. Definitely worth watching.

Reviewed by morrison-dylan-fan 10 / 10

"The early bird gets caught."

Getting the chance to host the ICM film festival for the second time,I took a look at the titles set for festival viewing. Recently watching his magnificent 2003 Horror A Tale of Two Sisters,I was absolutely thrilled to see Kim Jee-woon's latest in the listings,which led to me stepping into the shadows.

The plot-

1920's Korea:

Under Occupation from the Japanese,a Resistance movement starts building underground to overthrow the invaders from Korea. Wanting to root out troublemakers, the Japanese order Korean police captain Lee Jung-chool to track down members of the Resistance. Known for doing deals to stay on the safe side of the Occupiers,Chool is hit by the death of Resistance member Kim Jan-OK,who used to be a school friend. Learning of Jan-OK's murder weighing heavy on Chool, Resistance leader Che-san begins attempting to turn Chool to their side,as the Resistance start planning a major fightback,by making bombs in the shadows.

View on the film:

Unleashing his first period piece, co-writer/(with Ji-min Lee/ Jong- dae Park and Kathy Pilon) director Kim Jee-woon & cinematographer Kim Ji-yong create an immaculate presentation,with dazzling crane shots gliding along the rich primary colours covering the corridors of the ruling Japanese,Jee-woon sends coiled shots down the drenched in fog streets,where Resistance fighters are attempting to walk down unnoticed. Retaining the eye he had in examining the psychological horror in A Tale of Two Sisters, (with the torture that the Resistance fighters suffer being bloody and blunt,as tightly-held close-ups reveal their resistance to giving secrets away) Jee-woon brilliantly expands his psychological examination into Neo-Noir, where this age of shadows is lit with beautiful panel shots and elegant low-lighting capturing the anxiety of being caught,that the Resistance is under.

Following the Resistance's plan of attack at every stage of inception, Jee-Woon and Ji-Yong uncover griping Neo- Noir set-pieces such as a 20 minute train journey,set alight by Jee- Woon's ultra-stylised tracking weaving between Resistance fighters hiding with the passengers,and the mighty fist of the police walking down each carriage in long takes of them trying to sniff out the rebels.Giving them not only the Occupiers,but fears of betrayal within their own group to fight against, the screenplay by Jee-woon/Ji- Min / Jong-dae and Kathy Pilon sharply turn the screws of Noir pressure on the gang, via every move to bring Chool closer to the group being drenched in anxiety. Making the 2 and a half run time feel like nothing, the writers bravely show little concern over Chool (played by a superb Song Kang-ho) being likable,as any help he offers to the Resistance is balanced with sudden outbursts of brutality that explode into a pitch-black ending of deep Film Noir pessimism,where Chool sets alight the age of shadows.

Reviewed by Madfigs 7 / 10

Engaging denouement, contrived preamble

Set in 1920s Japanese-occupied Korea, "The Age Of Shadows" depicts the story of a band of motley resistance fighters staging an act of defiance through navigating the hurdles of acquiring resources, of fending off turncoat pursuers, and of exposing a mole infiltration. The storyline employs the oft-used wartime device of a greatly outnumbered, improbable challenger bucking the overwhelming presence of an oppressor by sheer wit and grit, and, in parts of the telling, exploits the device to great effect.

Able acting by the principal players and a well-sequenced cat-and-mouse confrontation aboard a rolling train help to deliver a compelling tale in the latter half of the film. Set, costuming, color grading and grand cinematography further effectively transport the viewer's eye. Production value is high.

The picture falters in the opening half through a pieced series of scenes or bits of dialogue which recurrently feel contrived and leave the viewer questioning, for example, how this character or that one transported himself or a proxy with such ease to the doorstep of another. The slower first-hour pace, with which some other reviewers take issue, is not a concern, it builds the suspense. Rather it is that the scenes feel too pat. Perhaps through the large number of location transitions, footage which would have better supported the development of a scene was cut, and through inadept editing, several which should have gone to cutting room floor were left in--the extra ending, for one, which clarifies destination of the other half of the explosives, seems unnecessary and adds nothing to the story's impact. The white-curtained strangling and stabbing of the preening man upstairs at the cocktail target, to name just another, also does not advance the story and seems extraneous.

Other distractions, some minor, include some of the lighting at night which feels artificial and staged, head hair which does not appear to grow or even become mussed after weeks in jail, rolling stock which, from the views inside, feels few in number (that is, the train seems short) relative to the prolonged time after which antagonists finally identify protagonists, and mediocre performances by some of the supporting players.

The film is at its best when focused at length on a particular scene and when there is action. Better editing and richer dialogue, even pregnant quiet, in place of the frequently changing and, for example, unconvincing and daft drinking scenes, could have sent this otherwise engaging story over the top.

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Postscript:

To help me determine whether to pass two-plus hours watching Shadows, I skimmed three or four of the IMDb viewer-submitted write-ups before my viewing, and they were fully informative. After the viewing, I recalled, among other comments, a reference to sepia in regards to the processing, but this description did not seem entirely accurate to me, and so after I wrote, revised and closed my thoughts above to any further edits, but before posting my review, I Googled these terms all together: the age of shadows Jee-woon Kim color grading. And seven hits down the list, this link was returned: "Foreign Contenders: Cloak-And-Dagger Thriller The Age of Shadows Has Kim Jee-woon Channeling His Inner Patriot," by Carlos Aguilar, December 12, 2016.

It is a superbly concise and insightful interview from a resource unknown to me, MovieMaker, with the director, Kim Jee-woon. In it he addresses the aforementioned color grading and the nighttime lighting I criticized (the set-up the director describes is precisely what I was picturing, and my recollection of it centered in particular around a sustained nighttime dolly close-up of the profile of lead Lee Jung-chool walking in the street: the flat light on his face did not change one iota under any passing street lamps or light from nearby homes, it was as if there was a large soft box held some feet in front of and above his head and moved in sync with the tracking shot). He also discusses aspects of the financing and some of the equipment and logistics specifics, makes a curious offhand comment about Park Chan-wook's stand-out "The Handmaiden," and adds about himself this perceptive comment, "Conversation scenes are the most challenging to me, because it's about relaying your thoughts or your mind to the audience."

If you enjoyed the film, the interview is a highly recommended, short read.

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