Audition

"Excellent"

Audition Review


Starting right with its cover shot of demure Japanese model Eihi Shiina wearing a chemical-safe, black rubber glove and clutching an enormous syringe, we know we're in for something extremely wrong with Takashi Miike's Audition.

And in a way, that's the problem. Audition starts out as the sweetest little love tragedy you can imagine. Poor Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) is nursing his wife during her final hours on her deathbed. She passes away and he's left to raise their son alone. Years later, he has finally gotten over the loss of his wife and consults his friend on how a widower finds a girl these days. The friend proposes a clever idea: Hold an audition for a movie that will never be made. Ask the girls whatever you want, then pick and choose the perfect one for a wife.

Aoyama jumps at it, and in the parade of freaks that come for the phony audition are pitiful... until Aoyama meets the striking Asami (Shiina). Immediately he strikes up a relationship, only to discover his little deceit is nothing compared to the skeletons Asami has in her closet.

What ensues is pure horror as Aoyama investigates Asami's sketchy past, meeting mutilated acquaintances and bystanders who speak only of people who mysteriously died, leaving hacked up bodies behind with pieces that don't quite match up. Aoyama also slips in and out of dream-states (and not just because he's sleeping), leaving us to question, for a short time, at least, whether this whole thing is just a dream. I won't reveal how the film ends, but its final 20 minutes are some of the most gruesome put to film. And it isn't a dream.

Audition is difficult to compare to contemporaries, but imagine if Mulholland Drive made sense or if Boxing Helena didn't stink. Imagine if David Cronenberg grew up as part of a wealthy and repressed family in Tokyo. Imagine if William S. Burroughs made a movie while on acid.

The cleverness of Audition comes in the way it screws with your perception of what's going to happen. As I mentioned earlier, its biggest flaw is that it gives away the fact that it's a horror film at heart, and this surprise (first glimpsed when we see something in a large canvas sack suddenly start rolling around the room) is somewhat spoiled by the fact that we know bad things are going to happen. (Thus I don't feel bad for spoiling them somewhat in my review.)

At the same time, Audition takes too long in getting to its horrorshow. While watching the DVD I actually fell asleep after the umpteenth scene of Aoyama feeling sorry for himself and moping around. It simply isn't possible to avert your gaze during the last half of the movie, but the setup is far too long in the making.

Both Ishibashi and Shiina (in her screen debut) make for impressive leads. Ishibashi doesn't have to do much to get the pathetic widower character across, and the way Shiina sing-songs "deeper... deeper..." is absolutely nerve-tingling.

Director Miike has less success with the dreamworld/reality construct, trying to make us question the story but eventually abandoning the whole precept. Have a little more faith in your narrative, Miike.

It's killer.

A new uncut edition DVD is available, adding some commentary and interviews. Any extra footage in the film is difficult to locate exactly... it's plenty horrifying either way.

Aka Odishon.



Audition

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd March 2000

Distributed by: American Cinemateque

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 53 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.