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Audition (Unrated) (Dir Sub)

Art House & International and Cult Movies movie directed by Takashi Miike

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Miike is Brilliant At Transforming the Mundane and Familiar...into Something Dreadful and SINISTER!

  • Oct 4, 2009
Rating:
+5
poster
Whenever someone who has no knowledge of Japanese director Takashi Miike asks me what I can recommend from his works, I say “AUDITION” about 99 % of the time. Miike has become very famous in the West because of this film, it paved the way for his other works to be released in America and Europe. I would not go as far to say that it is his finest film, but it is arguably his most famous. “Audition” is based on the book by Ryu Murakami of the same name. Most people would say that it is an utterly sadistic, sick and very graphic film, while others would say that it is a commentary about the way men treat women, some would see it as a cautionary tale. Actually Takashi Miike’s film is all of the above.
 
The best way to approach this film is to not expect anything, and the less knowledge you have of the film, the better the experience would be. The film’s strengths lie on its methodical style; it begins as your usual Hollywood “boy meets girl” style with some clever touches of subtle humor that has the elements of a romantic comedy. The further you go into the film, the darker and grimmer it becomes, it has a way of reeling you in very slowly that finally gives a resolution that will shock you and prove very unforgettable.
 
I warned you, so if you’re still here because you want to know more, read on.



 Encouraged by his son, Shigehiko (Tetsu Sawaki), a middle-aged widower named Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) decides to date again and look for a new wife. Aoyama is an all-around good guy who owns his own business and has worked hard to raise his son by himself. His friend, Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) who works in the movie industry hatches up a plan to hold an “audition” for a fake movie so that Aoyama can find the ideal woman. Aoyama agrees and finds himself quite taken by a young woman named Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina, Tokyo Gore Police). He calls her and eventually the two begin to see a lot of each other; Asami is a woman with a foreboding past but it only serves to make her more attractive to Aoyama. Oddly, while the two is on a weekend getaway, Asami disappears. Aoyama becomes obsessed in finding her, searching for her in the places she has supposedly frequented. The more Aoyama searches, the more puzzles he uncovers. Finally, something happens that will change his life forever…
 
Takashi Miike is known for films that pushes the envelope, and while “Audition” may not be his most twisted or his most graphic film, it may be the film that displays his directorial skills to the fullest. The direction in the film is very methodical, it is a little slow in the beginning but Miike manages to keep the pace interesting. He slowly brings you to Aoyama’s world and draws you in to this very mysterious woman. We all know that dating can be difficult and the first half of the film brings makes this its central focus. The film also manages to draw some very subtle bits of humor all the while serving a cautionary tale on who we allow into our lives. 

climactic scene

The ‘audition’ held by Yoshikawa is actually where the film sets its footing on humor. You see different types of women from all walks of life, age, attitude and lifestyle apply for the part. I was really curious as to how they managed to attract different sorts of women to apply for a role. Some are beautiful, some are so-so, most would be willing to do anything for the part while some were just weird. The movie has some mild scenes of nudity in the ‘audition’ but none too explicit. In the sequences, we can see how Aoyama would lean towards selecting Asami because she personifies something more traditional and I would like to admit that sometimes, men like women with a little baggage so that they can play the ‘dashing rescuer’. 

scene
 
I’ve said that Miike is very methodical in this film. Well, he doesn’t exactly hide the fact that there is cause for alarm in Asami’s character. Aoyama’s friend Yoshikawa clearly notices that something is amiss, as he tries to get some background about the young lady. Miike also pitches in some very simple scenes that are just so freaky and wildly creepy. It was actually among the ‘scariest scenes’ caught on film in MTV (or was it VH1?), ranked # 6 of 100 and on Bravo’s ‘scariest movie moments” ranked # 11 of 100; as we see Asami on her knees watching her phone for days, just waiting for Aoyama to call her again when something just happens. It was truly among the most iconic scenes in the books of horror; it was so simple yet so effective in expressing a lot of characterization and provoking viewer curiosity. Not at all directors can pull such a thing off, Miike is one of them.
 
Another strength of “Audition” is clearly Eihi Shiina. The woman knew exactly how to portray her imbalanced character. Asami is a woman broken by events from her past that has led her to become psychotic. If you look at her eyes, you see a hint of an emotionless, unnerving presence that is both attractive and creepy. Yoshikawa said it right; “there is something about her that doesn’t feel right…” Shiina exemplifies this feeling, yet she has this aura of magnetism about her. Many may argue that the reason for her actions is just her imbalanced state but for me, she is the ultimate ‘possessive’ girlfriend who wants her man without mobility as she tries to fashion her lovers into her own personal toy. She has her own definition of love as perhaps etched on her psyche by her past.


 
Many would be turned off by the final act’s graphic display of sadistic brutality but frankly, I’ve seen more scenes that were more graphic. It isn’t so much as what was being done but who was doing it…this frail, innocent-looking traditional woman is capable of such heartless cruelty is just so unnerving and unbelievable. The acting was superb as we become to Asami’s pleasure in dishing out pain and Aoyama’s raw anguish as she plays with his eyes, limbs and body. At the climax, Aoyama plunges into a deep state of hallucination and the abyss that is his own psyche. The manner that Miike expresses this is Lynchian-like while being accompanied by scenes that only Hannibal Lecter can cook up.
 
Most people remember this film because of the graphic violence done to Aoyama but for me, I remember “Audition” for its mind-bending dreamlike fragmented sequences that accompanied the torture. In this hallucinatory-dreamlike episode; Aoyama is brought to the three aspects of his personality. The real: his inner guilt over his treatment of women and his dirty fantasies, the imaginations: his wife’s warnings, and his speculative nature: Asami’s dark secrets become revealed. Some may argue that Aoyama had no knowledge of her home, so Aoyama cannot know about the ’dirty sack’ or what she did to the man on the wheelchair which may prove confusing to some viewers. This argument has merit but I was glad that the film gave the viewer a look at Asami’s true personality; without these scenes the film would‘ve lacked visceral impact. Myself, it was an expression of horror of what would have happened pass the torture. Asami has said that “pain will let you realize what kind of man you are” and the scenes bring this statement credibility while putting all the pieces together. The experience was definitely surreal and expresses the intimate horrifying details of some human existence.
 
In the end, whether you see Miike’s “Audition” as a twisted expression of depravity or a cautionary tale or even as a commentary about men mistreating women, you just cannot deny that the film is unforgettable. The film has a powerful moral message underneath its grotesque exterior, some may miss its large critique on sexism. The film has enough ‘visceral punch’ to get under one’s skin that will definitely make the inexperienced horror watcher feel a little filthy and definitely uncomfortable. What makes it even more effective is the fact that the film is plausible and grounded in reality. You have been warned.
 
Highest Possible Recommendation [5- Stars]

This is LUNCH.COM FIRST review





 
DVD Eihi Shiina as Asami squeeze date poster scene waiting for phone call climactic scene

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December 13, 2010
Love the details you give about this movie; sounds pretty compelling -- I really need to get my ass in gear in start watching these Asian flicks!!
December 13, 2010
I like the simplicity of Asian horror; it is more creepy than actually scary. and one thing it does well is the fact that it doesn't need to rely on jump scares. (though jump scares can be fun!) This is one of my favorite pieces of J-horror.
April 12, 2012
so...did you see this one yet?
April 12, 2012
No; unfortunately I really haven't seen anything in a while. I need to get a life Will.....
April 17, 2012
awww....that is ok.
 
August 20, 2010
Agreed WP with everything you said, this is the best review I have ever read about the film, excellent work WP. This is by far one of my favorite films ever and love every frame of the film.
December 13, 2010
geez. thanks for the compliment, Alex. Yours was pretty good as well.
 
October 08, 2009
Freaky stuff to be sure. I should have included this on my wackos list and intend to add it right now.
October 08, 2009
Karen, one question has always nagged my brain about this one; you think Asami could've gone after him the way she did if he didn't promise..."love me. only me."? I thought maybe she thought that she owned him and gave her all the reason to do so.
October 08, 2009
She wasn nutty enought to have to have come up with an excuse no matter what, but yesh, that sort of did seal his fate.
 
October 06, 2009
Brilliant film! If I carelessly forgot to mention, they are playing it at my local multiplex this month on a Friday at midnight for only $4 a ticket. I have never seen this one on the big screen so I'm actually pretty damned excited if I do say so myself. Friggin' great review!
October 07, 2009
Can I go with you, bro? I haven't seen this movie in the big screen either (bigger than a 50" screen that is)...it would be a real treat! Thanks for the read... oh, "TRICK" is posted...
October 07, 2009
Dude, that'd be awesome. It would be fantastic to have a friend like you to check out midnight movies with at the local multiplex. I keep hoping for Cannibal Holocaust or The Beyond to play some fine nite. I'm on your Trick 'R Treat page now. ;-)
October 08, 2009
I want to see PARANORMAL ACTIVITY at midnight but the weekend shows are sold out. I may have to call in sick for that one...LOL!
October 08, 2009
I have the heard that name but can't recall reading anything about it. You will have to fill us in soon. Yeah, I've called in sick before on account of a midnight movie. It's not like they play those all day long or several weeks back to back though so it's forgivable in my book. LOL
 
October 05, 2009
This sounds great. I'd read a few descriptions of it in DVD catalogs, but haven't seen it yet, though it sounds intriguing. You should make a list of your favorite Miike films, you know? You do like your Miike nice and disturbing, don't you? ; )
October 06, 2009
Of course, I wouldn't have Miike any other way! Would you like to know how he fares in a Japanese super-hero spoof?
October 06, 2009
I did...in ammie. But I was also thinking of YATTERMAN!
 
October 05, 2009
Holy smokes, a perfect score! This hasn't happened in quite some time if I'm not mistaken. Best quote: "...that will definitely make the inexperienced horror watcher feel a little filthy and definitely uncomfortable." Well done, Woop- you piqued my interest and I'm not a horror-film guy at all.
October 05, 2009
Thanks, Jason! Perfect scores rarely come from me, I think I've only given between 10-12 movies a perfect score in my 4 years of reviewing. This is among the best in Japanese cinema. I will return with more horror and thought-provoking stuff real soon.
 
October 04, 2009
This is one of my favorite horror movies.  I think this is what got me intersted in Japanese horror in the first place.  I only saw it a few years ago, but Takeshi is definitely one of my favorite directors as a result.  The movie was absolutely terrifying, and that's saying a lot because I don't get scared easily.  Fantastic write up.
October 04, 2009
Thanks, Sean, this is among my favorites as well. I really liked the way this movie draws you in slowly and lets you get invested with the main characters. Miike is definitely among my favorite directors; the man is so versatile. From Kid flicks to superhero flicks to genre mixing to yakuza films to horror...the man can do them all.
 
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More Audition reviews
review by . August 20, 2010
posted in ASIANatomy
A MUST OWN, MUST BUY, GET IT NOW TYPE OF FILM
      AUDITION      If there ever was a movie that I would no doubt say is one of the best movies ever if I was asked this would be it, in fact I would say that this is in the top 10. To those who have yet to see this film know now that you are in for a ride that you will never forget. J-Horror has become a very popular thing here in the states lately but let me say that these American remakes are nothing compared to the real deal productions from Asia. If …
Quick Tip by . November 23, 2009
Truly, AUDITION boasts some of the creepiest scenes committed to film. I'd say more, but I just can't watch that ending again. Ever.
Quick Tip by . August 21, 2009
Frightening and disturbing, and really the kind of the movie for true horror fans. Can't say I have the stomach for it most of the time.
review by . February 06, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
There is a huge difference between this film and other horror films and that is it has more story than gore. There's not that much violence but this girl still freaks you out with her insane secrets. The beginning is a little long but it's put to good when you see how it all comes together at the end. I started watching Audition expecting a very scary movie meaning excessive gore and things that really aren't needed but instead I got a thought provoking film and that's how it gets in your head. …
review by . June 03, 2006
It's difficult to know what my reaction to this film is. I have several, they're strong and they're pulling me in different directions    Based on a novel by Ryu Murakami, director Takashi Miike's Audition is surprisingly "deliberate" and straightforward for much of its length. It's not a bad film at all, but most of it is in the realm of realist drama, even becoming something of a romance at one point. There are a few brutal images and scenarios, but they arrive primarily towards …
review by . September 22, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Audition was recommended to me by an Amazon friend, Claude777 and I am glad that I heeded his recommendation! This movie and the visuals that take place were quite disturbing and haunting and even more so than "Ringu" (which others like to compare this movie to).     Director Takashi Miike's movie starts out like any other run of the mill romantic comedy - milquetoast, sweet and recently widowed Shigeharu (Ryo Ishibashi), his son, Tetsu Sawaki (Shigehiko Aoyama) and housekeeper …
review by . December 31, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
I just rented Audition a couple days ago, it's still here, and I will probably watch it at least 4 times by the time I have to return it. Then I plan on buying it when I get a DVD player.Ordinarily I am not even that much into "thriller" or "horror" types of movies. Seen a bunch, didn't get much out of them. Thus it's not really my preferred genre. After seeing Audition it turns out that the only reason I'm not too into this genre is because none of the other examples are as nightmarishly believable …
review by . December 30, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
I just rented Audition a couple days ago, it's still here, and I will probably watch it at least 4 times by the time I have to return it. Then I plan on buying it when I get a DVD player.Ordinarily I am not even that much into "thriller" or "horror" types of movies. Seen a bunch, didn't get much out of them. Thus it's not really my preferred genre. After seeing Audition it turns out that the only reason I'm not too into this genre is because none of the other examples are as nightmarishly believable …
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Wiki

If you want the full sledgehammer-to-the-stomach effect ofAudition, stop reading this review now. Just watch it and take the consequences. At first glance, Takashi Miike's jack in the box of a movie works like a romantic comedy: amiable widower Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) decides it's time to find a new wife, and a friend suggests holding a fake audition to find the right girl. It soon becomes clear that there is something wrong with Aoyama's choice. This is no ordinaryFatal Attraction-style thriller, however;Auditionslowly and carefully builds into a wrenching exploration of both deep male fears and the stereotype of the cute, submissive Japanese woman.Auditionis by no means an easy movie to watch--even hardcore horror fans may have trouble--but it will stay with you for a long, long time.--Ali Davis
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Details

Director: Takashi Miike
Runtime: 115 minutes
Studio: Chimera
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