Thursday, 31 March 2016

AUDITION ***** Japan 1999 Dir: Takashi Miike. 115 mins

Takashi Miike’s breakthrough movie for Western audiences, this is a haunting masterclass in escalating dread that has far more to offer than the (comparatively brief) gruelling moments of torture for which it became (in)famous. It opens as a poignant tale of loss and grief as middle-aged father Ryo Ishibashi spends seven years mourning his late wife before a close friend recommends an ethically dubious means of finding a new female companion. The faux “auditions” they stage results in a union with timid, soft-spoken 24 year old Eiki Shiina, a sombre former ballet-dancer who harbours a lot of troubling secrets.
Superficially echoing the workmanlike cycle of Hollywood thrillers spawned by FATAL ATTRACTION, the film finds tenderness in the developing central relationship before we become immersed in a suffocating sense of unease. As Shiina’s misanthropy and fragile mental state become ever more apparent (“Please love me…Only me…”), the movie delivers some of the most disturbing images of 90’s horror and, of course, a startling and hallucinatory final act involving a sustained torture sequence of the kind that would become far more sensationalistic during the 21st century cycle of sadistic, post-HOSTEL American horror films. Though undoubtedly indebted to the darkest cinematic forays of David Lynch, the film has a melancholic mood and carefully controlled style all of its own, and is as bleak as anything Miike has put his name to. Even in the relatively light-hearted early stages, a key character summarises the film’s overall theme, lamenting “The whole of Japan is lonely….”

Review by Steven west





29 comments:

  1. Has to be the classic Seven Samurai

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  2. "Dark Water" (2002, Hideo Nakata) for sheer cool chillingness.

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  3. I love Japanese cinema. I was blown away with Battle Royale although the sequel was terrible. My fave film is probably Old Boy but I'm big time into my Japanese animé - Hayao Miyazaki is my hero - Spirited Away & Princess Mononoke my fave films.

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  4. I absolutely the Death Note films.

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  5. Mr Malcolm Wood3 April 2016 at 14:10

    Black Cat

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  6. Battle Royale and Oldboy are my two favourites

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  7. Infernal Affairs @jaizduck

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  8. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon :)

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  9. @mattangelides

    my favorite is one of the first Asian movies i ever saw:

    Hard Boiled

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  10. The Good, the Bad, the Weird

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  11. Battle Royale is my fave, the hunger games ripped this movie off massively

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