Synopsis: An American man returns to a corrupt, Japanese-occupied Shanghai four months before Pearl Harbor and discovers his friend has been killed. While he unravels the mysteries of the death, he falls in love and discovers a much larger secret.
Director(s): Mikael Håfström
Production: The Weinistein Company
Rotten Tomatoes:
105 min

Every good spy needs a cover.

Be a journalist, they said.

You're good with words.

You'll be safe.

Where is the girl, Mr. Soames?

Where is the girl?

This way!

Please have a seat.

I'd like to call the American Consulate and

tell them where I am.

They've already been informed.

Someone's coming to pick you up.

That might be them.

The last time we spoke...

...I didn't realize how fond

of Mrs. Lan-Ting you were.

If I'd known, I'd have been more careful

what I said.

Both the Lan-Tings are friends of mine.

But only one of them accompanied you

to your hotel last night.


She came to tell me she was still in love

with her husband.

I'd be careful.

It isn't in some people's nature

to love us back.

Where is she...

...Mr. Soames?

I don't know.

I have no idea.

Where is she?

A friend of mine told me...

...Shanghai was the Paris of the Orient.

Due to an international treaty...

...every nationality under the sun lived

within her borders...

..Chinese and English, French, Japanese, American.

My friend said you could travel the world

in an afternoon...

...and never leave the confines of Shanghai's

international settlement.

It seems like Shanghai's gonna be a bit of a comedown

for you after Berlin,

Mr. Soames.

Not from what I hear, sir.

I meant as a journalist, not a bachelor.

Well, if Japan doesn't withdraw from China soon...

...Roosevelt's threatened to get his hands dirty.

So I'm sure there'll be plenty for me to write about.

Well. And you think it's a good idea for your country

to join the war?

Not if it means fighting you Germans.

You seem to be pretty good at it.

I will go get the car.

Did you have to provoke him?

I thought you said he was a diplomat.

No, I said he was attached to the consulate.

He's an engineer.

Stop him! He's with the resistance!

Welcome to Shanghai.

Leni, komm!

Shanghai was about the only place left in China

the Japanese hadn't taken over.

Everybody knew

it was only a matter of time before they

swallowed it whole.

Officially the guerilla war between the Chinese

and the Japanese

was none of our business.

So, like a good American,

I kept my head down and remained neutral.

Shanghai was divided up into sectors.

Drink in the British zone,

eat in the French zone...

...spy in the German zone...

...but stay the hell away from the Japanese.

Naval Intelligence had sent me to Shanghai

to help out an agent who was in trouble.

He was my oldest and best friend.

His name was Conner.

I'm gonna get you out tonight.

The storm had blown over by the time

I got to the casino.

In Shanghai, things change pretty fast.

The routine with Conner was always the same.

We'd meet in the biggest casino in town.

The loser would buy dinner.

Chip request for the lady.

Chip request for the lady.

Follow by 500

That is 550.

I'm Out

You're working pretty hard to bully me out

of my 50.

What did you say?

Oh, I said, I'll see your 500...

...and raise you whatever I have left.

Why don't you keep your something

for your taxi home?

It's a short walk to my hotel.

Three nines.

Three queens for the lady.

A very appropriate hand.

A very appropriate hand.

You must have brought me luck.

No second chance?

Not tonight.

Deal me out, boys.

Leave him.

You all right, sir?

Lieutenant Collins. Captain Astor sent me.

So we finally got you out of Berlin.

How was your trip?

Glorious. Except half the Gestapo was

on the ship with me.

Come on in. Let me get you a drink.

Where the hell is Conner?

He was supposed to meet me at the casino.

He was found earlier in the Japanese sector.

I guess he was on his way to meet you.

You know, this whole country has its head buried

in the sand.

The Germans are getting ready to march in Europe...

...and all we care about is whether or not the

Yankees beat the Giants.

I mean, what have we done with our lives?

I called Naval headquarters this morning.

I volunteered us both for Intelligence.

Conner and I had joined the Navy

like our fathers and grandfathers before us.

Our lives were set.

Birth, school, Yale, war.

The great American tradition.

He was investigating a local gang lord called

Anthony Lan-Ting.

He's the boss of the Shanghai Triad.

He has a deal with the Japanese.

They leave him alone...

...and whenever the Japanese need any dirty work

done they go to him.

I'd like to read all of Conner's reports.

He hadn't briefed us in a month.

That's why I sent for you.

I was under a lot of pressure to have him reassigned.


Because the situation here

isn't just black and white.

You got the Chinese fighting the Japanese.

Us, we're caught somewhere in the middle.

Now the truth is,

the Japanese want to walk into our zone...

...there's nothing we can do about it.

So sometimes,

our only option is just to sit back and

not rock the boat.

And that wasn't Conner's style.

Any informers?


He's got a contact at the Japanese consulate...

...a diplomat called Kita.

We've already spoken to him.

I'd like to speak to him myself.

And I'll need an introduction to Lan-Ting.

Apart from his own people,

he only mixes with the Germans and the Japanese.

I know plenty of Germans.

When do I start at the Herald?

In Berlin, I played the part of a journalist

with Nazi sympathies...

...and I was doing it again at the Shanghai Herald.

Mr. Soames was the Washington Post's correspondent

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Hossein Amini

Hossein Amini (Persian: حسین امینی‎; born 18 January 1966) is a British-Iranian screenwriter and film director. Amini has worked as a screenwriter since the early 1990s. He was nominated for numerous awards for the 1997 film The Wings of the Dove, including an Academy Award for Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay. He also won a "Best Adapted Screenplay" award from the Austin Film Critics Association for his screenplay adaptation of Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive (2011), based on the novel by James Sallis. For his directorial debut, he both wrote and directed The Two Faces of January, an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Shanghai" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 29 May 2024. <>.

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