Saturday, February 25, 2006


Title: Ôdishon - aka - Audition (1999)
Dir: Takashi Miike
Tagline: She always gets a part.
Rating: *** out of 5 stars

I don't know why I attempt to review these asian thrillers without a second viewing. It's damn near impossible! For one thing, I can't understand all of what happened. And two, I just can't decide how I feel about them because I spend the whole first viewing trying to understand what the fuck is going on rather than focusing on cinematic quality.

Needless to say, Audition is one of those movies. Here's a rundown of the plot: a lonely widower name Aoyama is looking to re-marry when his movie producer friend suggests they hold an audition, so that Aoyama may quickly check out different women. He immediately falls for a mysterious wallflower named Asami, and begins to date her. Then some mighty strange things begin to happen, culminating in a twisted climax.

I'd hardly call this one a horror film (but the moments of horror are outstanding). Perhaps I had my expectations in the wrong place. Most of the movie shows the lonely widower Aoyama falling for Asami. I truly believe me having previous knowledge of the film ruined it for me. If you go in not knowing anything about this movie, you are better off. Going in, you may think it is just about a lonely man looking for love, and finds it in a troubled young girl. But this is a Japanese film. Namely, it is a Takashi Miike film. So obviously things get weird.

Given what I just said, I won't go into too much detail. I hope you didn't see that Bravo Top 100 Horror Moments special, so you can really enjoy the film's horror elements. That program pretty much showed the film's big disturbing moments (the sack; the ending), but they really do need to be seen. The problem is how long it takes to get there.

The film is paced very slowly. Like I said, most of it revolves around Aoyama's loneliness and his newfound love in Asami. After a while, it gets very confusing. In fact, I still don't understand much of it. Then comes the ending, which is where the film's gold lies. Immediately the tone changes and if you don't know what is coming, it'll blow you away. I did know what was coming, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the ending. Miike's skills as a director really shine here.

The style of Hostel was based on asian cinema like Audition, and I could see the influence. Hostel seems very Americanized compared to the latter, but it was a big step in the right direction. Both could've used a little more horror, if you ask me, but I'm sure there is much going on in Audition's slow pace that I just couldn't appreciate the first time. As I said, a second viewing is necessary (for me, anyway).

If nothing else, you will never forget what "kiri kiri kiri" means after this movie.