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Blind Shaft

Blind Shaft (2003)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 2

A taut, biting critique on the new economic conditions in China.

100

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 0

A taut, biting critique on the new economic conditions in China.

audience

83

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 1,099

My Rating

Movie Info

A pair of murderers cover up their crimes via the archaic working conditions of coal mining in China in this award-winning psychological drama from director Li Yang. Blind Shaft centers on two men who have a grisly scheme: They persuade their victims to work in a local mine, plot their "accidental" deaths, then pose as the relatives of the dead men to collect their meager compensation. But when one of the killers starts to feel sympathy for their next victim, an ambitious young man, he listens

Unrated,

Art House & International, Drama

Yang Li, Li Yang

Aug 17, 2004

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All Critics (40) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (2) | DVD (4)

Fresh, stark and consistently uncompromising, Li Yang's Blind Shaft is an exceptional Chinese film noir.

March 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While the lack of a musical track, energizing editing and visual variety makes Blind Shaft tedious viewing at times, the story is strong enough to sustain interest.

March 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Engrossing because of its amazingly well-documented milieu, which German-trained writer-director Li Yang filmed on location in the northern provinces.

March 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Makes for gripping, merciless drama.

March 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unfolds as fast and mercilessly as the way Song and Tang approach their victims: It sideswipes us.

March 18, 2004 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Following the story is like walking down a mine shaft. Even with a weak headlamp, you kind of know where it's going, and it can't be good. But follow it you do, thanks to Yang's relentless, verite-style filmmaking.

March 12, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a thriller, it's a pretty solid affair -- and there's no getting away from how unsettling the tone is.

May 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

An auspicious first feature; although relentlessly benighted, it is nevertheless beautifully filmed and well-acted.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A descent into the hellish depths of one of those many recently privatized coal mines under China's new flirtation with the market economy.

February 7, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio
WBAI Web Radio

a spare and spine-tingling exercise in pure Hitchcockian suspense

August 28, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A disturbing morality tale that questions how far one will go to survive under such conditions.

May 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

This crafty little character piece keeps you guessing. If that wasn't enough, it also gets in some social commentary.

April 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The staccato, noirish film is proof, however, that China has no shortage of filmmaking talent.

April 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Depicts a way of life in China that I have no way of verifying but that I have to assume is relatively accurate. Either way, it's a decent film, not great but good enough.

April 29, 2004 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

The disparity between our mental rhythms and the script's gets in the way of ingesting what Blind Shaft has to say about unchecked opportunism.

April 17, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Weaves a tiny and compelling story, then manages to fix it within a larger tapestry of a culture bracing itself in a rush toward greed and prosperity.

April 14, 2004
Fresno Bee

The deliberately paced film, with understated performances..., is rich with ambiance, painting a memorable and lurid portrayal of China's economic boom.

April 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com
Film-Forward.com

If Martin Scorsese had been born in China, Blind Shaft is the sort of movie he might have made.

March 25, 2004 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

The end result is somewhat unsatisfying, largely because its twists aren't all that surprising and its outcome seems foreordained.

March 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

Taught and stylish.

March 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for Blind Shaft

This morality tale flows with good speed and characterizations leading to a conclusion that seems appropriate. Great story telling.
July 31, 2014
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A deliberately offensive uppercut to Chinese moral significance by a new director of the post-generation X of China.The near thriller elements of Blind Shaft are the heartbeat of his research.I'd normally accuse the script's tendency to drama but the acting is stellar and the unexpected finale events are as ironic as any Coen Brothers "dramedy" film.
March 17, 2010
jimbotender
Dimitris Springer

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Blinder Schacht (DE)
  • Blind Shaft (Mang jing) (UK)
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