|Plot Outline: Ryo Ishibashi plays Shigeharu Aoyama a man going through somewhat of a mid-life crisis. After many years of being loyal to his deceased wife, he feels (after some encouragement from his son) it’s the right time to begin dating again. So after hearing this, Aoyama’s friend Yasuhisa who happens to be in showbuisness, decides to set up a fake casting audition in hopes that his friend can choose who he wants to pursue as his new wife. Aoyama then goes through countless portfolio’s looking for women to audition, but as soon as he sees the beautiful Asami’s picture he knows that she’s the one. After the audition Aoyama makes his move on Asami and the two then begin dating. Everything seems perfect at first, but is Asami all that she seems?|
I’ve heard Miike compared to David Cronenberg or David Lynch for this film, but to my knowledge, as fantastic as both those directors are neither have ever done anything quite as drastic as this. For the first 60% of the film’s running time it seems as if we’re in a somewhat dark romantic film with a pinch of black comedy. Then somewhere along the way Miike starts to let things unravel, giving us glimpses at just how dark and seedy things can get.
The ending, while disturbing and graphic, is also extremely confusing. I still don’t understand it completely. Even so, I don’t really care all that much. What matters more than all that though is the emotional ride the film takes you on. I’ve probably already said a bit too much about the ending, likely some who read this won’t be too shocked when the finale comes. If you can though, try and disavow all I’ve said and watch the film with no expectations and see where it leads you.
Takashi Miike has slowly turned into one of my personal favorite directors. With this, Visitor Q, Dead or Alive 1, 2, Ichi the Killer and Fudoh he’s proven to be one of the most imaginative and prolific directors of all time. Miike has taken violent cinema to a completely different level. He isn’t afraid to show anything, but this isn’t the only reason to love his work. The style, ambiance and energy in his films are unmatched in my eyes. His style variations are as prolific as his pace of filmmaking, he can move from the fast paced editing of Giy Ritchie to the dark and moody atmospheres of David Lynch. If you haven’t seen any of his work then you really owe it to yourself to see this film at least. If only to check the waters.