Crossing the Line – AuditionPosted: May 2, 2008
Here we go with the zany mad-cap adventures of one man, his dog, his lady love, and a few surgical steel needles! “Audition” is a Japanese film directed by Takashi Miike. What kind of misadventures can that old card Aoyama get himself into this week?!
Tagline: She always gets a part
Interesting Fact: The vomit that one character eats is real vomit
Objectionable material: Nudity, off screen murder, killing of animals, Asian people, needles, romantic comedy plotline, nonconsensual drug use, sex, disfigurement, forceful removal of body parts, child molestation/abuse, hideously disfigured man-gimps, breaking of spines, a man hungrily eating vomit
Disturbing Quote: “Words create lies. Pain can be trusted.”
MBRFT: “Audition” is a delightful and moving romantic-comedy that will have will you writhing on the floor. If it doesn’t warm your heart, it will certainly puncture it with a deliberately inserted needle. Meet Shigeharu Aoyama – recent widower and dedicated father who just can’t seem to score with the ladies. Until his wacky friend Yoshikawa comes up with an outrageous idea. He convinces Shigeharu to hold a film audition for women. But this is no ordinary audition; these beautifully busty wannabe-actresses are actually competing for the role of his new wife! Enter Asami Yamazaki – a former ballerina looking for a fresh start. Shigeharu is endeared by her stunning good looks and soft-spoken demeanor. She’s won the audition, but can he win her heart? Asami has another man in her life: a foot-less and tongue-less man she keeps naked in a sack and feeds her own vomit to. What lengths will Shigeharu go to compete with the idiot sack man? “Audition” will keep you guessing until the end.
But seriously, this movie features easily the most misleading plot I’ve ever seen. Hitchcock dared to kill off Janet Leigh in the first 30-minutes of “Psycho,” but it’s nothing like the shift in tone this thing takes. You could argue that this film is far more horrifying than “Salo” for the sheer reason that it completely blindsides you. The director Takashi Miike has a knack for visceral violence and lets the camera linger on the grotesque carnage just long enough before pulling away and letting the audio do its job to fill in the blanks. Is it exploitive and over-the-top? Fuck yes. But it provokes a reaction. Maybe there’s even a little of the 80’s Slasher film morality simmering underneath it all. Shigeharu exploits women for his own personal reasons. He’s a sympathetic character but he appears to be drawn to Asami because of her docile nature and takes advantage of her (not a crime but not the most ethical thing to do). Much like a Jason-wielded chainsaw to the throats of two-fornicating teenagers, Asami’s revenge is like an Old Testament punishment for sin. Does the punishment fit the crime? Not in the least. But maybe that’s why this movie is so damn terrifying and shocking.
Even if the film is Japanese, it taps into an underlying American fear formed in the last decade. Recent highly-publicized massacres have been couched in revenge rhetoric by their perpetrators (Columbine, 9/11). Americans find themselves under attack for “crimes” (bullying, occupying Saudi Arabia) they were completely unaware of and had little or nothing to do with. Asami is like the trench-coat sporting, gun-toting kids of Columbine: bat-shit crazy, misguided and venting repressed anger in all the wrong places. Shigeharu is just the kid walking down the hallway at the wrong time who gets a shotgun-blast to the face. Maybe the whole film can be taken as a warning to everyone, especially Americans, to step-lightly and leave a small footprint in the world or in daily human interaction because of the distinct possibility that the next person you have a one-night stand with might shove needles under your eyelids. Maybe it’s not a good idea to jump into bed with Afghan freedom fighters who are fighting the Russians because they might fly planes into your buildings a couple years later. Ok, this has dissolved into an anti-imperialist rant on foreign policy, so I’ll end it here.
Psycholarry: So you come home from work and your son is giving you grief. He doesn’t understand that your new girlfriend that you obtained through scurrilous means isn’t meant to replace his mother. He doesn’t accept that her long life history of abuse by her family members in various ways has not turned her into a crazed freak. He thinks the harpy bitch wants to drive needles into your eyes and chest then cut off your feet. So he goes off to try to score off his dyke fake girlfriend and you have a drink stiff enough that it makes your whole body numb. Then your girlfriend comes home and makes things even worse. As much as you love her, killing your puppy and cutting off your feet just seems like a stretch in the normal relationship. Just one of those days eh?
This movie is scary. I’m not going to joke around much; MBRFT beat me to it anyway. Of all the films we’ve watched already for the series, this is the only one that actually kept me up at night. Screaming Girl still can’t handle the repetition of “Kiri kiri kiri kiri!” without cringing and yelling at me. Miike has discovered in Eihi Shiina a woman who is able to make sitting still genuinely creepy. I am not exaggerating when I say that her sitting still in some scenes, even without the benefit of a creepy man-sized bag in the background, is terrifying. Considering almost 90% of the film’s payoff occurs in the last 20 minutes of the film it is amazing how scary Miike has made this movie.
I won’t lie and say this movie is flawless. It has definite pacing problems, and some of the plot reveals don’t make a whole lot of sense. For a movie that perfectly fits the offensive criteria, and is extremely offensive and strange, it is a legitimately good film. It is offensive, it is graphic, it is painful to watch, but it is well made and definitely the scariest movie I’ve watched since “The Shining”.
Screaming Girl: I’m not in the mood to write a long response tonight because it is late, I am leaving town tomorrow and I waited until the last minute to do my write up.
I watched Audition and I have to say I do not like that movie. I do not like it for multiple reasons:
1. Creepy Asian love story turns into a creepy Asian horror movie.
2. There were way too many appendages being cut off. Including multiple fingers, a tongue, I believe an ear and I’m sure there’s more but I closed my eyes.
3. The main character was a psychotic female and I’ve never been a fan of psychotically dependent females
4. The movie made me scream, jump and have a bad dream. The dream consisted of a man in a bag making strange noises in the night only to discover said man is deformed and standing by my bed. Needless to say it took quite a few episodes of crappy TV Land programming to get me back to sleep.
5. I don’t like needles. I don’t like things touching eyeballs. The needles being inserted into the main
into the main character’s eyeballs made me scream and want to vomit.
6. Piano wire should only be used for pianos and members of the mafia.
7. I’m sure Larry said this already but “kiri, kiri, kiri, kiri, kiri.”
Overall I didn’t like this movie but it’s not the worst I’ve seen. It’s only getting better from here.
– Tune in next week when we look at whether the “Blair Witch Project” can hold a candle to the more infamous “Cannibal Holocaust”!