AUDITION is an art-house cult horror film that will be talked about for a long time to come. Ryo Ishibashi stars as Aoyama, a single father who has not dated since his wife died seven years earlier. To help find another woman to bring joy into Aoyama's charmless life, his best friend, television producer Yoshikawa, convinces Aoyama that they should add a fake part to a show they are auditioning actresses for--a role that will become Aoyama's real-life companion. After a series of comical auditions, in walks a woman whom Aoyama thinks is perfect--Asami, played by former model Eihi Shiina. But when Aoyama proves too tentative in his courting--and starts learning odd things about Asami's past--she decides to exact a revenge that filmgoers will never forget.
Director Takashi Miike's film, based on the novel by Ryu Murakami, begins like a slow-moving romance, carefully developing the characters and their maturing relationships. But suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the mood and pace change, smashing viewers over the head with fast cuts between the past and the present, with dreamlike images that turn into torrid nightmares, with screams and shouts where there had been soft-spoken whispers, with blood and violence that replaces love and longing. The last section of the film is one of the most brutal torture scenes ever put on celluloid, and it is definitely not for the faint of heart. But even in its gore-filled shockingness, the film is beautiful to look at, a monumental achievement by a director willing to take chances and challenge his audience.
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