Satoshi Fukushima, Akemi Suyama, Toyoyuki Yokohama (executive) for Omega Project, Creators Company Connection, Basara Pictures
directed by Takashi Miike
starring Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura, Renji Ishibashi, Miyuki Matsuda, Toshie Negishi, Ren Osugi, Shigeru Saiki, Ken Mitsuishi, Yuriko Hirooka, Fumiyo Kohinata, Misato Nakamura, Yuuto Arima, Ayaka Izumi, Nattsu Tanabashi, Kimiko Tachibana, Tatsuo Endo, Koshio Jindoji, Kanji Tsuda, Party, Takako Kato, Saori Tachibana, Sugimura Yoko, Yayoi Otsu
screenplay by Daisuke Tengan, based on the novel by Ryu Murakami, music by Koji Endo
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Having been a widower for over a decade, even his son Shigehiko (Tetsu Sawaki)
suggests to Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) to marry again. But being rather on the shy
side it's not that easy for Aoyama to pick up girls, so his friend Yoshikawa
(Jun Kunimura) suggests to him to hold a bogus audition for a movie to find the
right girl for him ... and the plan really works, as Aoyama pretty much at
first sight falls in love with sad but angelic, maybe even ethereal Asami (Eihi Shiina), and when he starts dating her it seems that she's sharing his feelings. Amidst his
newfound happiness, Aoyama grows deaf for his friend Yoshikawa's warnings,
who suspects something seriously wrong with Asami, as a bunch of people from her past
have disappeared or met horrible deaths ...
After Aoyama and Asami have sex for the first time though, she disappears
without a trace. Aoyama is heart-broken, but decides he won't give up on Asami
- but the clues he has to her life are few and far between, and when he finally
tracks down the bar she has claimed to work at, he finds out it has been closed
for over a year, due to its owner having been found murdered and dismembered. After some more clues lead to
nothing but grotesqueries as well, Aoyama returns home, more
depressed than ever, drinks his whiskey ... and passes out, since (as the
audience knows) his drink
was drugged. Waking up again after a drug-induced nightmare full of violence, desire and guilt,
Aoyama finds Asami right next to him - which would be heaven, had not Asami
paralized him with the express intention (and all the right tools) to torture
him to death ...
Most of Takashi Miike's output from the late 90s/early 2000s is
characterized by hyperkinetic action, over-the-top-violence and relying on
comicbook-exaggerations, often paced at breakneck speed. Audition on the
other hand is a whole different affair altogether, working on a deliberate slow
pace - considering both editing and storytelling -, being almost devoid of
action, dealing with a serious story in a serious and sensible way, relying heavily on a
brooding atmosphere that's only gradually building up tension, and saving all the over-the-top-violence until
the third act of the movie ... and as a matter of fact, Miike is doing
great at that, making Audition to this very day his probably most
disturbing and nightmare inducing film, and a piece of horror cinema that really
gets under one's skin.