“You may regret watching it, though.”
When the director’s opening commentary rings of grisly anticipation, you can’t help but wonder- what did I get myself into?
I’m a huge fan of Takashi Miike- and Audition rings true to his vision. Everything from ingenious cinematography to cryptic dialogue, it’s no wonder Japanese horror thrives on his vision.
The film kicks off with the death of protagonist Aoyama’s wife. This leaves him a widower and single father. Progress to seven years later and we see a lonely man with a thriving business who is deteriorating from his solitude. At the advice of his son, he finally considers remarrying but is clueless as to what he wants, or needs.
Enter Yakashima- a film producer and close friend of Aoyama. He suggests holding an audition to not only find his next starlet, but to also seek out ‘wife material.’ What’s beautiful about this plot twist is the fact that it plays off of a man’s heavenly vision of a woman- obedient, beautiful and charming. What better way to find the perfect bride than to make them audition for the part?
In the mix is the beautiful Asami, a former ballet dancer turned actress who’s incredibly enchanting. Aoyama is immediately taken by the young woman and finds himself in the center of a whirlwind romance. He thinks he’s found what he’s looking for- only to discover that she’s not what she appears to be. Not only does everything she says turn out to be a figment of her own imagination, but she spends the majority of her spare time alone in a room with a body bag.
My kind of girl. Not.
The ending alone makes the film. Everything leads up to the torture of Aoyama and Asami’s obvious mental insanity, tracing back to her dancing years and mistreatment by the men in her life. In a way, you feel for her character- which makes the dismemberment and puncture wounds almost bearable.
This film stands out as a great piece of cinema. Miike takes what you think is a beautiful story about a man and woman and twists it into an unimaginable fury that castrates men and empowers women.
Good fun- but not for the weak of heart.
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