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The Age of Shadows

Directed by Kim Jee-woon

Korea, 2016

HOME, 30 March 2017

The Age of Shadows

This one is set in the 1920s and has Korean resistance fighters kicking back against the Japanese occupation.

An engrossing, fast-paced, stylish thriller with lots of vivid period detail, the main character is Lee (Song Kang-ho), a cop with divided loyalties. You don’t know where Lee really stands until the very end.

There are gunfights and street sieges aplenty yet also subtle scenes of intrigue and espionage. Some of the torture scenes are gruesome and off-putting, explicit and realistic in a way that some of the wide-angle action sequences are not (the latter are balletic and cartoonish in nature). So be forewarned. Calibrate your expectations and endure them.

On the whole, I enjoyed The Age of Shadows and I appreciated as well the odd reference to that old Burt Lancaster, Gary Cooper film, Vera Cruz.