Attach Kim Jee-woon’s name to any film and I’m there. A Bittersweet Life is one of my three favorite movies of all time, I Saw the Devil is a revenge masterpiece, and The Good, the Bad, the Weird is a straight up berserk. Hell, I even dig his English-language debut, the Arnold Schwarzenegger-fronted actioner, The Last Stand, though it is admittedly the weakest link in his otherwise sterling canon. The director is back working in South Korea for the first time since 2010, and just dropped the first trailer for his period drama The Age of Shadows (formerly titled Secret Agent). Check it out below.
Lensed by Kim’s frequent collaborator Kim Ji-yong, this trailer for The Age of Shadows is stunning. Simultaneously intimate and sweeping, with that haunting score and tense, moody aesthetic. This looks like a true return to form.
The Age of Shadows stars the great Song Kang-ho (Snowpiercer, The Host, and too many other hits to name) and Gong Yoo (The Suspect, and this year’s Cannes zombie thriller Train to Busan—I’m also way stoked about that film).
Set in the 1930s, the story follows a crew of resistance fighters, led by Gong’s character, who attempt to bring explosives in from Shanghai to target important Japanese resources in Seoul. Japanese agents, of course, try to stop this. Song plays a Korean-born officer in the Japanese police who was once part of the resistance movement himself.
The Age of Shadows has intrigue, espionage, betrayal, divided loyalties, tension, high stakes, as well as personal risks. So, basically, it has everything I could possibly ask for.
Scheduled for a South Korean release on Chuseok (a Korean harvest festival) this September, there’s no word when the rest of the world may see this. But given Kim Jee-woon’s stature on the international stage, and the fact that The Age of Shadows looks fantastic, hopefully someone will hand deliver it to me before long.
You also probably noticed the Warner Bros. logo during this trailer. The Age of Shadows is the studio’s first venture into producing Korean films, so that connection bodes well for the worldwide distribution potential.