I finally got around to seeing this highly acclaimed film, and I have to admit that I should have gotten around to it earlier. Some times I caution myself to highly claimed films to make sure my expectations aren't too high going into the film. After watching "Audition" and its slow burning build, I'm glad I finally got to see it as it was just as good as so many people claimed.
Takashi Miike is such an unusual director. Just a few days prior I re-familiarized myself with this samurai western film "Sukiyaki Western Django", and I realized just how much random ground this director covers. This film is almost the exact opposite of that film. It shows his skill in how much he is able to do as a director. "Audition" though, has to be one of his best. The slow burning build towards the nightmarish scatter shot ending is that of expert finesse and his visual touch is stunning to say the least. Only this man can take a pseudo-dramatic/romantic piece as the first 2/3 of this film and flower out a sheer horror filled ending out of it.
"Audition" has our leading man Aoyama, looking for a potential new love interest after years of living with his son when his wife tragically died. He does so by holding an 'audition' for a film and using the girls that audition as his potential dates. Thusly he finds Asami, a talented and shy young woman whom turns out to be a little more than he bargained for.
What I loved about "Audition" is the depth of the piece. What is a fairly simplistic story, feels as though we are watching the lives of two very real individuals whom are struggling with the changing times and their own faults. The subtle cues of gender differences and their impact on the opposite sexes, along with the age differences of our leading actor and actress, bring out a layered ball of yarn that the audience (if intelligent enough) has to untangle and analyze for themselves. This is a film that will sit in your brain for weeks after viewing. Of course, one might have to try to forget the horror of our final act (as it will disturb you if you are not mentally prepared) to think about the film in its entirety. Not that the ending isn't relevant, in fact, its the perfect ending for this film, but it will burn itself in your thoughts.
Stunning acting on all fronts, a quickly dissolving structure (in all the good ways!), Miike's brilliant vision, and an atmosphere that will hang long after the credits roll, "Audition" is a sure fire classic for years to come.
Written By Matt Reifschneider