Audition – Review (Spoiler Free)

Audition Film PosterIt is perhaps difficult to decide as to whether this film presents its particularly disturbing and violent images for shock value, or for more ‘artistic’ reasons, and I happen to believe that it is doing a lot more than simply trying to scare its audience, but whatever its intent it utterly succeeds at creating an involving, suspenseful, and lingering atmosphere. Audition will certainly stick with you for a considerable time after you finish watching it.

The basic plot of the film is that a man (Ryo Ishibashi) who has been grieving for his wife for a number of years is finally prompted into looking for a new partner by his son. To conduct his search he uses an audition for a movie as cover, and through this process meets Asami (Eihi Shiina) – a woman who may have a little more to her than what first meets the eye. Ishibashi gives a good performance here, however it is Shiina who is easily the stand out; Asmai is an enigma and therefore allows Shiina the freedom to really express many different sides and interpretations to her character. She can draw out many different reactions from us, and it is the strength of her performance which the success of the film rests on. That’s not to diminish other aspects of the movie; the tone, score, and direction are all impressive, but her role is of such vital importance to the film, that if a lesser performance had been given then the whole lot would amount to very little.

Audition, to some extent at least, explores obsession, sadism, and patriarchal gender construction, but it also equally exists to disgust and repel us. It doesn’t hold back and could easily sicken many viewers, and its for that reason, as well as the deliberately patchwork editing together of scenes which occurs in the second half of the film, which makes this a somewhat abrasive film, and one that isn’t to everybody’s taste. I would however recommend seeing it, every element of it is handled very well, and although it is far from my normal comfort zone, I found myself becoming engrossed and haunted by it very quickly indeed. It’s a subtle film at times, but that only serves to build you up for its more direct moments.

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36 comments

  1. You’re right it’s definitely not for everyone but it’s one hell of a film and one of my favorite psychological horror films. That ending… wow!

    1. Yeah I’m so glad that I finally got around to seeing it, and I know what you mean about the ending! πŸ˜€

  2. Great review, man!

    1. Cheers buddy!

  3. It’s definitely a film I need to revisit since I only liked the last few minutes. I was bored for the majority of the film. Eihi is the only character I liked so it should come as no surprise as to what ending I wanted to see for the film. Call me a sadist. Great review. Your love for this one has me doubting where I stand on it.

    1. Thanks you sadist! πŸ˜€
      I think it would be worth revisiting. I liked the slow build up and the subtlety that the film had – I guess that was what made you bored?

      1. Yeah, the majority of the film was spent on building that subtlety and it throws you off as to what kind of film the movie is. I spent much more time trying to figure out the movie than judging its actual contents. All reviews prior to my watching it warned about the brutality. I was anticipating the gruesomeness so much that perhaps said anticipation began to die. Thus, I almost could care less when the brilliant finale peaked its head in (although I did really care when it was being unveiled).

        1. That’s a shame. Perhaps you’ll appreciate it more next time as you’ll know what to expect that time around?
          As you say the ending is great – It would be worth re-watching it just for that!

  4. Nice review Rumsey. It takes awhile to get where it needs to get going, but it was worth the wait.

    1. Cheers man, I really liked how it took its time building up to the ending, which was as you said, ‘worth the wait’. I enjoyed the time spent with the characters and being given almost an examination of loneliness before it then became the horror that it is in the second half.

  5. theipc · · Reply

    You know, I had heard for years and years how sick and disturbing this was – “Most Disturbing Film Ever” and stuff. I finally watched it few years ago and didn’t get the hype. Oh well – nice work!!

    1. I don’t know. If a film is labelled like that then you’re bound to be left pretty cold by it. I really enjoyed it going in knowing basically nothing about it and found it pretty disturbing by the end!
      Thanks πŸ™‚

  6. Good review! I actually just watched my first Miike film (Hara-Kiri) a few weeks ago. From what I understand though, it’s not really a lot like his other films. This sounds much more disturbing and violent.

    1. Thanks! I know next to nothing about Miike’s films and so can’t really comment. What I can say though is that this does indeed have it’s fair share of violence, and certainly is disturbing! πŸ˜€
      Would you recommend Hara-Kiri?

      1. Hara-Kiri was good, but not great in my opinion. It gets boring at parts, but its beautifully made. If you’re a fan of samurai films, you may enjoy it.

        1. I wouldn’t say I was a fan but I’ve seen a few and enjoyed them. I think I’ll try to get hold of that then!

  7. Natalie P · · Reply

    Sounds like an interesting film, nice review πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks a lot Natalie! It would be interesting to hear your take on it if you ever see it πŸ˜€

      1. Natalie P · · Reply

        Well I’ll let you know if I ever do πŸ™‚

  8. I’ve never seen it James but you bet your bottom dollar I’m going to go out and search for this…looks pretty cool.

    1. Awesome – Be sure to let me know what you think! πŸ˜€

  9. Great write up buddy. I do feel this was a tad slow and maybe longer than it needed to be, but the ending more than made up for it πŸ™‚

    1. Cheers Tyson, It has certainly got a great ending! I personally found that the length and slowness worked for me, I felt it really added to the atmosphere of the film. Perhaps though on a re-watch, when I know what is coming, it will drag a little.

  10. I love this film, great write up, and what a shocking ending!

    1. Thank you! It’s really great isn’t it, I’m so glad that I finally got around to watching it. Have you seen any other films by Miike?

      1. I think I have, although I do get a little confused between him and Beat Takeshi. I’ve seen 13 Assassins and Ichi the Killer, both highly recommended πŸ™‚

        1. I haven’t seen Beat Takeshi/Takeshi Kitano’s directorial work, although I’ve seen him acting in several films.
          Great! Thanks for the recommendations, they have both gone on my rental list.

  11. Great post, I may check this one out even though many have said it’s a hard film to watch because of the content.

    1. Cheers buddy – it’s certainly not the easiest of films, but it’s worth checking out!

  12. Wordschat · · Reply

    Not my cup of tea to see. Thanks for the heads up and a very puns πŸ™‚

    1. No problem, it’s certainly not for everybody!
      ‘a very puns’? πŸ™‚

  13. Natasha Harmer · · Reply

    I’m not sure what I think about Audition…I watched it a while ago and while I can appreciate it as a brilliantly made and very clever film…it did nearly make me sick! It’s that bit when she voms in the bowl and feeds it to the guy that got me! Pretty disgusting

    1. Yeah that bit is pretty unpleasant! I think I need to see it again to truly appreciate it though, it was as you say a very well made film, and I think it would benefit from being watched multiple times.

  14. Glad you reviewed this one and I’m glad you kept your review spoiler free because that ending was such a punch in the gut for me. I love slow burn movies like this way more then constant scare ones. Nice job

    1. Thank you, I too prefer the slow burners.
      I always try to keep reviews spoiler free for exactly that reason; don’t want to spoil good moments like the one at the end of this movie!

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