‘Audition’ (1999) Our Friday Night Movie Pick

‘Audition’ (1999) Our Friday Night Movie Pick

Credits

Director: Takashi Miike
Writers: Ryû Murakami (novel), Daisuke Tengan (screenplay)
Stars: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki

4.0

This week’s recommendation is truly terrifying and disturbing. It’s a stomach-turning psychological horror that deals with revenge, identity, dealing with grief and the dangers of idealism. It’s a wild roller coaster ride whose twists and turns will keep you guessing and enthralled right up to the very last minute. If you feel up to it, this is the movie for you to watch tonight.

Audition tells the story of a middle aged man, Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), whose wife died seven years earlier and is now ready to start looking for another companion. That’s when Shigeharu and his friend decide to hold an audition for an upcoming TV show with the real intention of finding an appropriate woman to become Shigeharu’s wife. After auditioning dozens of women Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina) walks into the room. She’s an ex-ballerina dressed all in white, gorgeous and soft spoken, with a touching backstory. Shigeharu immediately becomes enamored with her. As he gets to know her though, other details about her past start surfacing and it becomes clearer that she isn’t as innocent as she first appeared.

Audition
Eihi Shiina (Audition, 1999)

Japanese director, Takashi Miike, really pushes the envelope with this movie. Released in 1999, this movie shocked millions and is still as important and shocking today, nearly 20 years later. Shigeharu’s story is so relatable; he’s a lonely single father who has been mourning his wife for seven years and is finally looking to move on. He’s likable, he’s trustworthy and we find ourselves really wanting him to be happy. On the other hand, the idea of holding an audition to find a wife is a moral gray area to say the least; it’s a little shocking when the idea is jokingly proposed and it makes us even more uneasy when Shigeharu is going through the women’s applications as if he’s looking through a catalogue. That being said, the questions of feminism are still overlooked when considering Shigeharu’s loneliness and the devotion he had to his wife. When Asami plays right into this loneliness, we almost want to say, “Well, you left yourself wide open!” but we’re somehow still sympathetic. It makes the ensuing violence all the more jarring and disgusting.

Audition starts so sweetly and turns ghastly so quickly that it will leave your head spinning. As a revenge tale, you do feel for Asami and although she resorts to horrific acts you can almost sympathize with her motives. There is even some truth in her words, “Words create lies. Pain can be trusted.” Even so, her chorus of “Kiri, kiri, kiri, kiri, kiri!” will send chills down your spine and haunt you for days.

All in all, this classic horror film is a classic for a reason. If you enjoy horror films at all, you need to watch this one. There really is so much going on just below the surface that you could watch it ten times and derive a different meaning from it each time. Watch it tonight and don’t blame me if you can’t sleep afterwards. You’ve been warned.

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2 Comments

  1. Elwood Jones May 28, 2016
    • David Duprey May 30, 2016