Blind Shaft


Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15

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Critic Reviews

  1. 90
    Blind Shaft means to leave the viewer dazed, and it does.
  2. 90
    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 film magic.
  3. A brilliantly spare and poignant tragicomedy that projects such savage self-criticism of China's "economic miracle" that the film has been banned at home.
  4. Blind Shaft, a well-acted and well-produced film, is a quiet though searing indictment of contemporary China.
  5. Reviewed by: 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.
  6. 80
    Powerful stuff from writer-director Li Yang that's both an uncompromising indictment of the human cost of China's evolving market economy and an nail-bitingly suspenseful thriller.
  7. Makes for gripping, merciless drama.
  8. 75
    Variously been described as a thriller, a muckraking exposé and even a satire -- and its refusal to fit neatly into a genre is only part of why it's so utterly disturbing.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Less striking for its storyline than for the world it presents -- a rural moonscape of coal-dust, casual environmental disaster, and atavistic behavior.
  10. 75
    The lead actors, Li Yixiang and Wang Shuangbao, are completely believable, sucking us into their casually cruel world.
  11. 70
    Slow going, but it provides an absorbing glimpse of a rarely seen side of Chinese life.
  12. 70
    Set in the blue gray gloom of industrial China, this cunning noir focuses on two ruthless coal miners.
  13. 60
    A little slow for a crime story, and a little obvious with its anti-capitalism message.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Dec 7, 2010
    Initially I was stunned to witness photography taken 700 metres below the ground. Immediately I am instilled with fear and a heightened senseInitially I was stunned to witness photography taken 700 metres below the ground. Immediately I am instilled with fear and a heightened sense of awareness not to mention pangs of claustrophobia. My emotional balance continues to swing as I question why they have unnecessarily murdered a colleague. These clouds of confusion do not disperse within the Boss's Office or in the bathroom as his ashes are poured down a toilet. Only now am I realising that we are witnessing a couple of fraudsters who force vulnerable strangers to act as family members in order to receive compensation after their "accidental" death. Wow...if not a great premise, a truly fresh one.

    The film encompasses all aspects of their daily routine including regular nods to specific Chinese culture and rites of passage that are considered norms within their densely populated but sparsely financed situation. After watching I felt like I had been educated by a documentary while also being treated to a rich narrative that would not have felt out of place in the pages of a book or in the realms of my imagination. It is for this reason that I cannot mark this film down. Furthermore the ending is truly fitting by subverting the roles and highlighting the fluidity of power. The intended message is delivered in a emotionally satisfying way without pandering to the audience and the anti-capitalists will hold this tale dear to their hearts. I urge filmmakers around the world to match the culture specific focus on show here. 10/10
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