Audition (1999)
June 27, 2022 6:32 AM - Subscribe

Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) is a widower who decides to start dating again. Aided by a film-producer friend (Miyuki Matsuda), Aoyama uses auditions for a fake production to function as a dating service. When Aoyama becomes intrigued by the withdrawn, gorgeous Asami (Eihi Shiina), they begin a relationship. However, he begins to realize that Asami isn't as reserved as she appears to be.

This film features one of the most jarring tonal shifts of any film ever made. From prolific and legendary Japanese director Takashi Miike.

83% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, which summarizes critical reaction thusly: "An audacious, unsettling Japanese horror film from director Takashi Miike, Audition entertains as both a grisly shocker and a psychological drama."

Currently streaming in the US on Kanopy and free with ads on Tubi. Also available for digital rental via Vudu and Alamo on Demand.
posted by DirtyOldTown (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The shift, if you're curious... To this point, the widower has been on a happy-go-lucky quest to scam his way into finding "the perfect woman." He decides he's found her, so he calls here up.

And we see that she is seated in an unusual position, as if coiled and waiting. The phone call sounds ok, but the visuals on her side are more Silence of the Lambs than romantic comedy.

And then there's the bag.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:39 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]

saw this in the theater when it came out

brilliant and one of the most terrifying movies I've seen (may be filed under "amazing movies I'll never watch again" but maybe this will give me an excuse to rewatch)
posted by kokaku at 8:15 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]

I was watching this one Sunday afternoon in the tiny flat we used to live. My SO came in but was not keen to watch and so sat reading the large Sunday paper, held in such a way as to not be able to see any of the screen. That worked until the piano wire was introduced. That cleared her out. So well done Audition on having even sound effects which can sicken someone.
posted by biffa at 9:05 AM on June 27

Miike is probably my favourite director. This wonderful lighthearted romantic comedy really shows his range!
posted by sixswitch at 9:55 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]

This was so good. I'm not a horror film fan — I only watch and enjoy the very cream of the crop and this is an example. It very effectively skewers male entitlement and does so in stylishly brutal and unforgettable way.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:38 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]

Oh man, Audition is one of those films I don't regret experiencing but I would absolutely not watch it again.
posted by Kitteh at 11:53 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]

Many years ago, I showed this film to my then-partner without telling her anything about it except that it was a Japanese film. She sat through the whole thing, but was so mad after that she didn't talk to me for nearly a week.

Anyway, great movie, very, very disturbing. Anyone read the novel it is based on? I read it several years ago and remember it being mostly pretty good. I know the film diverges from it somewhat, but I can't remember the details. I do remember lots of very graphic, weird descriptions of sex when Aoyama and Asami take a weekend trip somewhere, with a lot of focus on the narrator/main character's obsession with her genitalia.

Miike is just an amazing director. Visitor Q remains the most f'd up, disturbing, yet hilarious movie I've ever seen.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:41 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]

Audition was my second Miike (first was Fudoh, which I think (maybe?) I saw at the Toronto Film Festival) and it has stayed with me for over the last 20 plus years. There's not that many movies I've experienced that I can say that about. Especially, considering I only saw it once.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:55 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]

Audition was my first Miike film, and hot damn do I still think about the 'kiri kiri kiri' noise she makes at the end when she's working the wire. The way the film tone skips a track when Asami's internal life starts coming to the forefront and then plunges right over the edge... wooooo-eeeee

Next let's do Happiness of the Katakuris! That may be my *favorite* Miike for just how out and out bonkers it is.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:01 AM on June 28

The bag scene freaks me out way more than the piano wire scene does.
posted by holborne at 10:36 PM on June 28 [3 favorites]

This movie gave me a needle phobia that I only conquered because I wanted my COVID vax.
posted by thecaddy at 5:12 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]

I'm with Saxon Kane on Visitor Q

the IMDb tagline is quite accurate: A troubled and perverted family find their lives intruded by a mysterious stranger who seems to help find a balance in their disturbing natures.

part of you enjoys the ride, part of you is just.. truly appalled with that other part
posted by elkevelvet at 2:57 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]

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