A warning is virtually mandated: No one who's even the least bit squeamish should even think about seeing Audition. But, if you have a taste for the disturbing, it's a trip that will stay with you for some time.
Takashi Miike's 1999 film, Audition, is a perplexing, enthralling masterpiece that deserves remembering as one of the best horror films out there, despite mostly not being all that scary. The movie is a slow and steady burn, it may feel lengthy at first watch, but it's under 2 hour run time breezes by upon repeated viewings. The movie's layers of suspense and sprinkled absurdity fit it perfectly. It builds up suspense and tension without ever giving into dramatic irony. It does this while simultaneously providing moments of respite that both prevent things from being taken too seriously and open the doors to new possibilities of horror. For the first hour and a half, the only scary elements of the movie are ones the viewer superimposes into the film. The last portion of the film may be gut-wrenching to some, but even this visceral horror is interjected by moments of abatement. Technically and thematically, the movie performs far beyond almost any of its horror contemporaries, presenting a critique of modern Japanese society in a well-executed and incredibly precise manner.
Audition tells the tale of a widowed middle-aged man set on the quest for a new wife at his teenage son's behest. Unaware of his coworkers' feelings about him, he works together with a friend to set up a semi-false casting call with the purpose of finding several candidates to date. Upon looking through the submitted auditions, one applicant catches his eye, a woman with over a decade's experience in ballet who had to give up on her dreams after a debilitating accident. Encapsulated by her story, he spends the next act trying to win her over, eventually agreeing to be with her if he loves only her. However, things may not be as they seem, as some of her history appears falsified, and she suddenly disappears. The question becomes whether the leading man will be able to give up on his dream girl or try and pursue a woman with no tangible connections.
Within this quest for love, Audition looks more generally at how adult relationships function in Japan, specifically at the treatment of marriage/remarriage what actions are seen as culturally normative. In this vein, Audition proposes a plausible scenario and looks at how it can spiral into disastrous consequences. How unrequited love manifests itself and impacts those at its center. How stigmatizing certain practices can result in unhealthy relationships. How commodification of women can be a double-edged sword. And how corporate culture in Japan impacts the forming and health of relationships. In doing so, Audition never fully shows its hand. It presents possible outcomes but also implies that they might be preposterous. It looks at horrific tortures and mutilations while simultaneously suggesting that they may not be authentic. The movie doesn't present a definitive version of its events or messages, and this allows it to become malleable and shaped for each viewer. What one person gets out of Audition is likely not the same as another, but these differing views can be confirming of their holder's worldviews.
Technically, Audition is also very nuanced. The ways that it chooses to shoot scenes, that is, the angles, lenses, and classical continuity conformity, give added meaning to the text. The mise-en-scene of the film is incredibly meticulous. Every camera movement and shot framing feels motivated and adds layers to the story and themes of the film. The restaurant scenes are especially noteworthy, each highlighting different aspects and employing varying techniques, something the film seems to be aware of as it revisits some of these sequences multiple times under different contexts. Each of the settings has different lightings and atmospheres associated with them, making them all uniquely striking and memorable. These distinctive settings highlight the film's surrealism and dream-like qualities, a central element in the film's open interpretation. The true meaning of the film's components may be unknown, but the possible readings and takeaways from the film show its true potential.
Quite simply the best horror film I have ever seen. It is visceral, intensely disturbing and unforgettable. I have seen many films which have made these claims, but Audition is one of the very few that have delivered. This is largely due to the fact that first half of the film is a bitter sweet drama, if not a romantic comedy. Unlike the generic cast of characters who perish in your standard Western horror film, I felt empathy toward and emotionally invested in the main character - a sad, lonely yet likeable man trying to move on after the death of his wife. In many ways this is an anti-horror film, a realistic nightmare that will stay with you for years thereafter. 10/10
How Miike gets us from amiable point A to debilitating point B is a remarkable act of manipulation and control that may leave you feeling sucker-punched, even brutalized, but you won't forget the experience anytime soon.
I absolutely love this movie. It is a brilliant combination of romance and horror. Takashi Miike really made this movie pure genius. One thing I love about this movie is the fact it starts off slow and then pops up right at the end. Some people not like this movie because of this, however. The script is great and the characters fit the story so well it's not even funny. The flaws with this movie is that it is really long (over 2 hours in length). Also, the movie had some parts when you didn't know what was going on. Hence, this is a fabulous movie and if you love J-horror, this is one you should watch. It is much better than a lot of American horror films these days and will keep you entertained from start to finish.
This movie is horrifying and really good, but it's mostly in the last 15 minutes most of the movie is fine. I was engaged enough. It was mostly. Just one of those movies where it is mostly forgettable except for the last 15 minutes. It's goodly made, but it's just like I enjoyed it.
Avec le réalisateur Takashi Miike, on ne sait jamais sur quoi on va tomber... mais la plupart du temps, on trébuche et on se prend les pieds dans le tapis de ses films bizarres, pervers, tarés... ou malsains. Avec "Audition", ce qui commence comme une gentille petite histoire débouche inopinément sur un putain de film d'horreur assaisonné de folie pure... Il paraît que la solitude est "le mal japonais du siècle" mais avec un film comme ça, ça ne va pas arranger les affaires... Vous ai-je précisé que le gentil monsieur cherchait une nouvelle compagne après la mort de sa pauvre femme ? non ? eh bien, c'est fait... bon courage dans vos recherches, chers célibataires...
En tout cas, à part cette dinguerie et cette bouffée délirante qui fait à chaque fois sursauter et qui n'arrive que bien ****, le film de Miike est assez lent et emmerdant. Il n'avance que lentement à très **** pas et s'il se permet quelques touches d'humour bienvenu lors des auditions des filles, il est aussi ballot qu'un feuilleton français pour le reste.
Il ne construit que trop vaguement quelques doutes, cherchant à nous endormir pour ensuite nous poignarder lâchement dans le dos... salaud de Miike ! un Misery à la japonaise qu'on appréciera qu'avec précaution et grande modération.
Loved how it ends, the "kiri kiri kiri" scene it's iconic and I'll never forget how sadistic and briliant it was. But, besides that the slow burn approach did not appealed to me, I really wished I liked it more.
No fue lo que esperaba, los primeros 70 minutos fueron insoportables, parecía un descabellado culebrón cursi sacado de algún capítulo de Mujer Casos de la Vida Real, luego por fin se desencadenan los momentos supuestamente retorcidos ejecutados sin razón de ser y sin ninguna gracia. Por momentos percibí cierto machismo implícito que sólo sirve como la base de la historia.
A nivel técnico no hay nada interesante que resaltar ni mucho menos de las actuaciones.