Blind Shaft

Released 2003


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Blind Shaft

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Blind Shaft, a 2003 drama directed by Li Yang, is based on a short novel by Liu Qingbang that is entitled Shen Mu (Sacred Wood). Song Jinming (Li Qiang) and Tang Zhaoyang (Wang Shuangbao) are two Chinese con artists who have made a career out of extorting money from the bosses of coal mines. They convince a poor young man that they can secure a job for him in a coal mine, but tell him he must pretend that he is their relative. They then murder the man, make it look like a work-related accident, and threaten to sue the boss unless he compensates them with money. Their scams seem foolproof until they meet Yuan Fengming (Wang Baoqiang), a naive, sixteen-year-old boy who they decide to make their next victim. Tang has no reservations about killing Yuan, but Song has a sudden crisis of conscience that could ruin the entire plan. Blind Shaft is critically acclaimed and has won 12 awards, but it is banned in China due to its controversial, grisly content.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 90

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    Deftly swings to a spartan, engrossing climax, and the final twists spell out what the murderers are made of and the setting responsible for creating them. It is a true piece of fi...

  • 80

    Los Angeles Times Manohla Dargis

    Makes for gripping, merciless drama.

  • 80

    Variety Derek Elley

    Has a low-key power that comes as much from its off-handed approach to the dark material as from any manipulative techniques.

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Foreign Language, Thrillers