Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Asami Yamazaki
More Info: IMDB
Tagline: She always gets a part
Plot: A lonely Japanese widower whose son is planning to move out of the house soon expresses his sadness to a friend and fellow film producer, who becomes inspired to hold an audition for a non-existent film so that the widower can select a new potential bride from the resulting audition pool. The widower ultimately becomes enamored with and fascinated by one particular young woman...but first impressions can often be horribly wrong....
My Rating: 7/10
Would I watch it again? Yes
My only previous encounters with Takashi Miike's films are with ICHI THE KILLER and BATTLE ROYALE. Both are violent, cool as hell and 20 minutes too long. AUDITION is different. It's 20 minutes too long, violent and cool as hell - in that order.
The film starts out nice and easy and plays very much like a romantic drama. It's probably about 45 minutes (of the nearly 2 hour running time) into it that the tone changes from "meh" to "uh-oh", 15 minutes later to "I'm going to can" and another 30 minutes later to "Where the hell did this come from?". The audition itself is played for laughs and it's a lot of fun. After that you're in it for the long haul. The courting of the widower and the young girl is nothing special and is surprisingly drab but it's knowing the audition was a scam and wondering how it's all going to pan out that keeps you going. Once we start to discover there's more to this girl than we're let on that I perked up a bit.
Yawn. There's lots of flashbacks to the girl's abused past and, I think, some flash forwards. After a while I started asking myself, "WTF?". Patience. Did you watch the trailer? Notice something in the sack by the phone? Cool, huh? Now we're getting into torture/horror territory. The fun begins....NOW!
HERE BE SPOILERS:
This chick's got some serious issues. It turns out that she hates/distrusts men because of her sexually abusive uncle or something. She doesn't trust her new found boyfriend because she believes he's doing to many other girls (who auditioned) what he's doing with her (you know, sex). So she's got to make him depend on her since she can't seem to depend on him.
So what would you do? You'd do what any fucked-up Japanese broad with issues would do and that's slip a little something in his drink to make him immobile yet still able to feel pain. Then you'd put on a leather butcher's apron (cause there's going to be lots of blood and you don't want to muss up your pretty dress you wore especially for the occasion), remove a bundle of 5-inch long acupuncture needles from your leather bag of goodies and proceed to put them into his abdomen. But you wouldn't stop there. Nope. You'd push them in a good inch or two. He's been asking for it and he needs to hurt. Still with me? Of course you are. You've done this before. THEN after you've put a dozen or so into his gut you sit on top of him and work those needles around and around. Ah, to be in love again...and let's not forget to put a few directly below his eyeballs.
But wait, eventually the anesthetic or whatever will wear off. What to do then? Cut off his feet, naturally. But not with a boring old saw. Nope. We're using piano wire with handles on both ends to get that see-saw action going on. It's like a Three Stooges sketch but without the blood, numb guy full of needles, and crazy Japanese broad going to town on some guy's foot so she can use it as an umbrella stand. Pleased with herself, she starts on foot number 2 but doesn't get too far when his son comes home earlier than expected. She darts around the corner after pulling a mace sprayer out of that bag of goodies. The son opens the door, seeing his footless pin cushion father lying on the floor and says with a straight face, not shit, "Are you OK?"!?!
Psycho bitch chases his ass up the stairs and starts spraying the kid like a dog in heat. Sonny, with the full force of both legs, kicks her down the stairs so hard she doesn't even come close to touching anything but air until she hits the floor in the doorway to where pin cushion pops is lying. Is she dead or is it his imagination that allows him to keep her alive as he talks to her? I just don't know. I'll need the Cliff Notes to find out. I'm on my way to Barnes & Noble right now.
END OF SPOILERS...YAR...
OK, so if you didn't read the spoilers you'll probably not want to watch this which is too bad. If you did then it's on, huh? Half way through I had no idea that I would end up liking this movie. If only Steel Magnolias had an ending like this I may have actually enjoyed it. The ending is so out of left field and caught me so off guard that I'll definitely watch this one again; possibly with friends if I could convince any of them to endure what I did the first time through. It might work if I promised to make sushi and wear a geisha outfit.