Audition | Varied Celluloid

Audition

Posted by Josh Samford On June - 28 - 2008
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?




The Review
If you’ve never experienced the insanity of a film directed by the mad genius Takashi Miike, this may or may not be a good start for you. Of all his films I’ve seen, this is the most atmospheric, artistic, and even subdued. Yet in some ways, it’s also his wildest. The violence in the film isn’t as abrasive as in something like Ichi the Killer, but the fact that it’s more relaxed and less in your face gives it a much harsher delivery. How anyone could ever be disturbed by something as outrageous as Fudoh or Full Metal Yakuza I can’t imagine, but I can definitely understand how Audition could get under the nerves of some. When I first watched the ending it was an actual emotional experience, and anytime a movie can provoke a reaction like that from me I know it’s truly something special.

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.

The Conclusion
So, if you’re open to avant garde cinema and wanting to jump into the Japanese film scene, then Audition may be a good place to start. Just don’t expect a fast paced story or a gore fest, that isn’t what this film is about. There is some gore yes, but if that’s all your interested in then please stick to dead-alive, versus, premutos, or something else because this isn’t the film your looking for.

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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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