Sunday, December 21, 2008

Audition (1999) Uncut Version

Man uses trickery to attract wife, loses leg for his trouble

The Review


At the behest of Patrick Galloway, author of Asia Shock: Horror and Dark Cinema from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand, I finally watched this movie. I'd been avoiding it. Didn't know much about the story-line, except that it had some reportedly graphic torture scenes.

Now, I'd been avoiding it because - well, I'm just not into torture. Giving or receiving. (Or watching.)

Sure, I like a creepy ghost story as much as the next guy. And I like seeing bad guys get what's coming to 'em (I love that). I even like the occasional over-the-top-never-happen-in-real-life-bloodbath-spectacular (supernatural or not).

But watching Human Being "A" gleefully saw off Human Being "B"s limbs, while Human Being "B" is tearfully pleading for his life - that's just not entertainment. (To me.)

"Torture-porn", I believe is what they're calling it, and it's become quite a mainstream hit these days.

Anyway, the plot itself is pretty run of the mill - lonely guy finds perfect girl who turns out to be homicidally unbalanced. What people say sets this one apart is that we get to watch said perfect girl saw off various body parts from various persons while those persons are restrained and awake. Using piano wire. In bone-crunching, blood-spurting, agonized-screaming detail.

From what I hear, many in the audience walked out during early screenings, causing the director to make some (minor) cuts before general release. There were even a couple of cases of mild shock, with one audience member being briefly hospitalized. And, both John Landis and Rob Zombie, over-the-top horror directors themselves, said they found the film extremely difficult to watch. I know! (A word of caution following this link - some of the video is pretty graphic, although the worst bits have been cut.)

I actually thought the movie itself was quite good - most graphic of the torture aside. As far as lonely-guy-perfect-girl-homicidally-unbalanced movies go, it did it's job with verve most others lack. The movie slowly builds an excruciating sense of tension, which never lets up for a second. And the story unfolds so that it increasingly reveals, a bit at a time, how horrifyingly screwed up this girl is - and how much trouble our hero is really in. The plot's been done a hundred times, but this movie steps it up a notch.

But the most graphic of the torture distracted me from the story's climax.

So. (Shakes fist angrily) TAKE THAT, PIANO WIRE SAW GIRL!

I do have to say that, while I'm still no fan of torture-porn, that girl really sawed and gouged with gusto and panache. Even as I winced at what she was doing, I had to admire her enthusiasm.


Oh, and that book by Patrick Galloway is really good, by the way. It's got some films I'd rather pass on, but a lot of great unknowns (at least to western audiences) to put on your list. I pulled about 20 movies out of it that are now on MY list.

The Trailer

The Details

Audition aka: Ôdishon

Ryo Ishibashi ... Shigeharu Aoyama
Eihi Shiina ... Asami Yamazaki
Tetsu Sawaki ... Shigehiko Aoyama
Jun Kunimura ... Yasuhisa Yoshikawa
Renji Ishibashi ... Old man in wheelchair
Miyuki Matsuda ... Ryoko Aoyama
Toshie Negishi ... Rie
Ren Osugi ... Shimada
Shigeru Saiki ... Toastmaster
Ken Mitsuishi ... Director
Yuriko Hirooka ... Michiyo Yanagida
Fumiyo Kohinata ... TV station presenter
Misato Nakamura ... Misuzu Takagi
Yuuto Arima ... Shigehiko as a child
Ayaka Izumi ... Asami as a child

Takashi Miike

MPAA Rating
Unrated (for violence/torture and sexuality)

115 minutes

She always gets a part.

Japanese with English Subtitles

Audition at IMDB
Audition at Wikipedia

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