Audition (1999)

Genre: Thriller, Horror

Cast: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina

Synopsis: A widower decides that it’s time to find a new wife. Unfortunately, he’s picky. In order to find the perfect bride he hosts an audition for a fake TV show to select possible candidates. At the audition he meets an enchanting and mysterious girl named Asami who turns out to be the Japanese Audrey Hepburn…if she snorted bath salts.

I fucking hate Valentine’s Day. Every year I have to face the inane question: so, what are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Every year I give the same response: I will be eating chocolate cake alone in bed. I’ve never been in a relationship on Valentine’s Day and when I say so my statement is met with a myriad of responses: curiosity, suspicion, pity. This year was particularly difficult as I was seeing someone great until August last year when my son-of-a-bitch boss decided to fuck up my visas. This year, Valentine’s Day just reminded me of everything I lost when I had to leave the USA (although I must admit that the whole Oscar Pistorius thing made me feel much better about being single on the day itself). In order to cheer myself up I decided to watch the movie that should feature on every proud singleton’s list: Audition.

The plot is simple enough: older gentleman loses wife, gets horny, wants new wife, holds fake TV audition, meets beautiful girl, and starts dating her. Sounds like the plot of a generic Katherine Heigl/Hugh Grant rom-com, right? That’s where you’d be wrong because what Takashi Miike gives us instead is what would happen if you mixed Love Actually with I Spit on your Grave i.e. something that doesn’t suck sweaty donkey balls. This movie is so fucked up that it will force you to question whether you should meet that girl you’ve been chatting to on OK Cupid or whether you really should respond to that delightful Craigslist post, the one with the guy with photo of his hot body that’s clearly stolen from an Abercrombie and Fitch website. This movie scars you because it plays with your fears of dating the wrong person. You’ve found someone so perfect, so how fucked up can they be? Turns out the answer to that question is ‘very.’

Eihi Shiina was cast perfectly in the role of Asami, a Japanese business man’s wet dream. Beautiful, cultured, polite, vulnerable, and fragile; a living doll. It’s hard for us not to fall in love with her too. There’s something so haunting about her, so mesmerizing and yet inherently tragic. Our preconceptions are demolished, however, when we find out what she’s capable of. Takashi Miike himself said that he didn’t create the movie with an intended feminist message but it’s hard not to read one into the movie as it explores the idea of the perfect woman and how desire and lust blinds our reason.

I wouldn’t advise the squeamish to watch this movie. The brutality is shocking, to say the least. But it’s definitely a film that everyone should be aware of. I mean, if you’re in a relationship you want to get out of then just pop this baby in the DVD player and your significant other will get the message. If not, then casually leave some acupuncture needles lying around the apartment and whisper ‘kiri kiri kiri’ whenever appropriate.

High-lights:

  • Eihi Shiina really is perfect in the role of Asami. She brings an unusual elegance to the character which contrasts nicely with the violence she engages in.
  • The camera work is really impressive. A lot of the shots were really masterful and displayed Takashi Miike’s skills as a director.
  • The audition scene itself is really funny. I’ve never been to an audition so I have no idea if this is what they’re actually like…but I’m kind of hoping that they are.
  • There are some really trippy dream sequences that I didn’t understand when I watched the film sober but fortunately the weed cleared that up.

Downers:

  • The main characters son is quite annoying. Are kids his age supposed to be THAT into dinosaurs?
  • The torture scenes are really uncomfortable but the absolute worst is that she cuts a guy’s fingers off (off-screen fortunately) but leaves one finger. The fucking ring finger. The most useless of all fingers. That’s twisted.

Summary:

The ideal Valentine’s Day movie! If you can withstand gore then sativas are a must. If not then an indica will be better or something that’ll induce couch-lock because, let’s face it, you’ll need something to prevent you from turning off the movie. Watch with caution though: this movie could wreck all of your future relationships.

8/10

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3 Comments

Filed under Great, Horror, Thriller

3 responses to “Audition (1999)

  1. 1. Eihi Shiina rules in EVERYTHING. I know it’s impossible to find outside Japan but if you can, get your hands on a fansubbed copy of Gaichu (Harmful Insect). One of my favorite coming of age dramas ever.

    2. I think Miike added the dinosaur shtick (I read the book last year and I don’t remember any of that at all). He probably had some really weird personal-mythology reason for doing so, but I have no clue what it could possibly be.

    3. Miike may not have intended a feminist message, but IMO Ryu Murakami DEFINITELY did in the book. (In which the climax is not as graphic, but is horrifying for entirely different reasons–Miike made one specific change that cut out a lot of the “oh my god you are TOTALLY not going to do that you bitch!” aspects of the climax, and it was probably a good move.) Asami is by far the strongest character in the novel, which has a lot less of that rom-com feel to it (the male lead is much less simpering High Grant than conniving bastard in the book).

    4. KIRI KIRI KIRI.

    5. (and that tongue thing coming totally out of nowhere in the middle of the rom-com part of the movie! I totally forgot about it the second time around and was watching it with my wife and one of her cousins, and all the sudden there’s this disembodied chopped-off tongue. There were shrieks. SHRIEKS I TELL YOU.)

    Love this movie. Love it love it love it.

  2. Pingback: Bloggers Tag! | pure massacre

  3. This is a fabulous movie!!!!

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