Blind Shaft review

Life is cheap but living costs are expensive in this gripping thriller from China. Two chancers Song (Li Yixiang) and Tang (Wang Shuangbao) have worked out a great scam, taking youthful no-hopers out to the country's illegal mines. Once there, they sign in their latest victim as one of their relatives, then murder him in the mineshaft in an "accident". Either the mine owner pays a sizeable wodge of compensation or Song and Tang threaten to call in the authorities.

It's not too hard to see why this ruthless little film was banned in China. Flaunting a deeply sceptical outlook on the country's economic `miracle', Blind Shaft refuses to take prisoners in its depiction of a world where Socialism has given way to murderous entrepreneurism. Shot guerrilla-style on handheld cameras, it's an extraordinary, uncompromising movie with a bleak vision of human nature that's positively guaranteed to shock you senseless. Stark, brutal and often hilarious, this pitch-black comic fable is not to be missed.

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