While the shots are clear and concise, there are certain pacing choices that could have been better executed. At times, the setting jumps from one place to another in an instant. Because of the constant setting changes, I found myself lost on occasion and was left trying to figure out what happened between the filming locations. There is one scene that occurs at a nunnery, but it is hard to figure out who is at the nunnery at the time and how they leave the nunnery. The transitions are fluid, but not detailed enough to explain what is occurring between scenes.
The main plotline was easy to follow, with corruption and two-faced protagonists leading the charge. Yet, there are a few subplots that are harder to comprehend and might require a second screening of the film to completely understand. Yoo Gong (Train to Busan), Kang-ho Song (The Host, Snowpiercer), and Byung-hun Lee (A Bittersweet Life) are all brilliant in their respective roles. It is often hard to figure out their characters's allegiances, but that is a huge part of the storyline. Often times Korean films include overly cheesy characters, creating comic relief for the story. Yet, I usually find that these characters detract from the seriousness of the genre. Luckily, there are no such characters in this award-level film.
The Bottom Line: The Age of Shadows is an enjoyable Korean cat-and-mouse chase story, filled with untrustable characters and exciting camera shots.