Japanese auteur Takashi Miike burst into the American consciousness with this 1999 horror film. Miike cranks out the films like no one else by directing a staggering 86 titles over the last 20 years. Films like “Audition”, “Ichi the Killer”, “Full Metal Yakuza”, and most recently the samurai epic “13 Assassins”
“Audition” stars Ryo Ishibasahi as a lonely single father who decides to start dating years after the passing of his wife. The way he goes about finding this new love of his life is either brilliant or cold and heartless. One of his friends works for a movie studio and sets up an audition to interview young actresses for a non existent movie. I have to say that I’m no expert on Japanese culture, but the depiction of men and women and their roles in society makes quite a glaring message by Miike. During the audition Ishibashi’s character of Aoyama looks like he is shopping for a new car rather that a woman. The last girl interviewed is Asami, a meek an introverted former ballet dancer. She is beautiful, mysterious, and Aoyama quickly becomes obsessed with her. His friend gets some serious negative vibes off her and warns him to go slow and that something is just not right with her, but he ignores him.
Aoyama calls her and they start a respectful relationship. We also get some more background on Asami as we se her in her apartment and there is indeed something not right with her. The film is well paced and intriguing throughout with a climax for the ages. The last half of this film is not for the weak of heart and/or stomach, but really does deliver the goods. Asami’s past is revealed as well as what she does to Aoyama. Asami is her own women who has suffered through some serious tragedy and abuse in her past, but is still extremely disturbed.
There are several DVD editions out there and I would have to recommend the unrated and uncut version to get the full effect that Miike intended. This version is also available through Netflix Streaming. Check it Out!