Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Movie Viewing: Blind Shaft

Saw a little Chinese indie flick called Blind Shaft. adapted from novelist Liu Qingbang's best seller and Laoshe Literature Prize winner of 2002, "Shen mu" (Sacred wood).

It's about two guys who sing up to work at coal mines where the owner of the coal mine promises a large insurance to relatives if someone dies. So they get innocent people to work with them, claiming the innocent victim-to-be as a relative. They've just murdered someone and now they're looking for a new person. They find this newby a little 16 year old kid who has come from the country who needs work in order to continue schooling and to care for his family. The kid's dad went off to work and didn't return. The kid is standing around the daylaborers looking all forlorn and green and they know they have their next victim. They say to the kid, "Well, we got an in with a job but you have to say you're his nephew." The kid agrees. He's 16 but will pretend to be 18. So they sign up. But the guy who's pretending to be his uncle starts feeling guilty. First, the kid is sweet and he's kinda bonding with the kid. Second, the kid looks a lot like a guy they killed. (Could they have killed the kid's father?)
So the guy pretending to be the uncle starts trying to not kill the kid. He says "Well, he's the last man in the family. His line will die off." His consciousless parner says, "So what?" He says, "I just feel weird about it." Then he says, "We can't kill him because he hasn't had sex yet." So they pretty much trap the kid to sleep with some prostitute. Lots of them around...and the film is basically talking about how capitalism has ruined the country.Then he says, the kid can't die because he's never had a drink. So they force the kid to drink. Meanwhile everyone in the camp is totally amazed at how much this "uncle" cares for his "nephew."

After a while the conscience-less baddie gets impatient and in the mine he picks up a rock. He throws it at his partner, the uncle. And knocks him down. Then he begins to aim at the kid but his partner rises up and hits him with the pick. Then both fall down. The kid is so shocked at these events he races out of the shaft. Everyone thinks -- of course-- that there's been an accident in the mine. The kid is then forced to sign the contract giving him $30,000 for the death of his "uncle." He's an honest kid who hems and haws so much everyone thinks he loved his uncle sooo much. But in the end he takes it. Last scene is kid standing in front of the incineration place where body is being incinerated and kid looking weirdly confused. Very fun. I sat through this flick biting my nails fearing it would have a bad outcome but it was sooo neat to be so surprised.
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