Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Audition (1999)

[Home]
[What's New]
[Movie Reviews]
[Features]
[Links]
[About]

Starring:

-Ryo Ishibashi
-Eihi Shiina
-Tetsu Sawaki
-Jun Kunimura

Synopsis:

A single father who lost his wife many years ago decides he wants to get remarried. After discussing with a friend of his in the movie business, they decide to use a movie audition as a front for him to get to "pick" his perfect woman. He finds a woman he likes and quickly becomes deeply involved with her. But her past is hazy and soon, things start getting strange.

Review:

*Potential spoilers.... I try avoid anything that will ruin the film, but some things are mentioned that hardcore purists may wish not to hear before viewing the film*

The first thing I should warn potential viewers about this film is to not let hype about this film get to them. Hype is always a recipe for disappointment, and with a movie as generally disappointing as this anyway, that just amplifies the feeling. I know that a proper review shouldn't mention hype and what not, but reality is that if you are checking this movie out - it's because you've heard something about it. Hype notwithstanding, though, this film is tedious at times and never really gives anything powerful enough to sink in memorably to a viewer.

The first hour or so of this film focuses mostly on our main character's search for a new wife. As a single father after his wife's death, some of his son's comments have gotten him to think about getting a new wife. As per the film premise, he uses an audition as a front to hand pick his perfect woman. This not only sets up for the relationship with his newfound wife-to-be, but seems to call into question the morality of using such a scheme to find a woman. Unfortunately, this first half of the film is quite tedious. There is little more than a hint or two of the later, more disturbing aspects. Rather, it spends its time setting up the characters, premise, and initial relationship between our two newfound lovers. It feels quite long-winded in doing so, no matter how necessary or not it may be.

The second half of the film gets far more psychological and "freaky", if you will. Here, we see a number of disturbing, unexplained events take place. These are blended with a dream-sequence type of narrative, calling into question what is real and what is not. The film does leave most of this ambigous, in the end. Much of this could possibly be questioning our main character's conscience as he deals with the way in which he found his wife-to-be.

Unfortunately, as interesting as this sounds on paper, it comes off more hollow in practice. I never felt scared or disturbed, as I feel viewers are meant to be. The shorter film time devoted to these latter segments, combined with the constantly jumping dream-sequence approach also served to keep this film from allowing me to settle on any feelings or mindsets. Unlike some psychological thrillers where this could be qutie interesting, this is not a good thing here. As the film is intentionally ambiguous often, this will leave viewers with a feeling of wanting in the end.

Unfortunately, I came away from the film feeling empty. No fright, no horror, no disturbance. The thing that kept some level of interest was the conscience question and how that plays into the dream-like sequences and their ambiguity. Unfortunately, this is never really pulled together in the end and while that is likely intentional, in this case it only serves to leave the film feeling hollow. Combined with the fact that the first hour and ten minutes are quite tedious development of the premise, this film drops down to a mere rental. Luckily, said conscience questions and some great direction and cinematography make this watchable at least once.

Director:

-Takashi Miike

Language/Cuts:

-Original Japanese language.

Grade:

C

Pictures: