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Blind Shaft Review

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Peasants, Song and Tang, exploit the lack of safety measures in the Chinese coal industry. Every few months, they befriend a naive and lonely hick, pass him off as a relative while working in dangerous conditions, then murder him below ground.

★★★★

With hearts as dark as the mines in which they ply their trade, peasants Song and Tang coldly exploit the lack of safety measures in the Chinese coal industry. Every few months, they befriend a naive and lonely hick, pass him off as a relative while working in dangerous conditions, then murder him beneath the ground. After claiming compensation from a management too greedy and afraid to attract the attention of the authorities, they move on to the next mine.

Tension grows as they line up their next victim, a 16-year-old 'nephew', although a glimmer of conscience is glimpsed at the end of the tunnel. Part-thriller, part-documentary-style exposé of a Chinese underclass rarely seen in the West, Blind Shaft makes a devastating impact. Safety is expensive but lives are cheap in a country that "has a shortage of everything but people".

Melodramatic for sure, with a predictable ending, but gripping nonetheless.