Rating: 10/10
Year: 1999
Genre: Thriller
Director: Takashi Miike
Cast: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura

I can't decide which director would enjoy watching this film best: Clive Barker, Dario Argento, or Alfred Hitchcock. All these directors I appreciate for their talents in darkness whether it is extreme or subtle. Takashi Miike has accomplished drawing the audience in slowly with subtle and well-made storytelling that turns into a roller coaster ride of white-knuckle extreme terror. At first it seems as though Miike is presenting at straightforward family drama. Husband/father Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) widowed seven years prior decides under the gentle and humorous direction of his son (Tetsu Sawaki) it is time to remarry. Simple? Well, no. Aoyama's drinking buddy Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) decides to hold a fake audition for a film in search of the perfect woman. The editing during this sequence has a natural rhythm and humor that highlights the whole facade as the numbers of unusual women are asked a series of questions. Enter Asami (Eihi Shiina), a former ballet dancer, who seems to have suffered in her past. Aoyama falls in love quickly, and against the warnings of Yoshikawa moves forward in quest for the perfect mate," a compliant woman is best." Takashi quickly cuts to a still shot of Asami, sitting on the floor her head bent down, her hair falling over her head so we can't see her face, a telephone in the foreground, and a very large canvas bag. Throughout soundtrack is very well done and there are very different types of music to fit each scene. At this point, however, there is total silence. Long enough to create tremendous tension. Miike takes the audience with Aoyama as hints Asami's of psychotic disintegration almost subliminally sneak into the narrative. At the midway point we become just as disoriented as Aoyama. Is love blind and deaf? In a series of well-edited montage scenes we are shown previous shots of conversations with different dialog, or simply, more direct. Asami seems to be disclosing all of her painful and tragic past. Or is she? Do we really listen when we are in love, or do we simply hear what we want to hear? Asami's lifelong forced submission and compliance have been driven so deep they boomerang ..standing these traits on their heads.

I enjoyed Takashi's sense of direction. The film flows, picking up pace towards the final scenes effectively employing the lost art of giving the audience the maximum amount of tension and fear while revealing little. By then it is too late. Throw in a couple of misplaced acupuncture needles, dismembered limbs, three fingers and a tongue. Well, you can imagine the scenarios. Or can you? This is a slow burn, with a great pace and it really pays off. Not for the squeamish, faint of heart or anyone who is afraid of needles. Deeper, deeper..deeper.

DVD (US version) - I purchased Audition DVD from Virgin Records. There are some trailers on the DVD, not all with subtitles. The subtitles on the film are well done. They have the original Asian trailer for the film and the US release. They are very diffrent and that is interesting. The Asian trailer has a granular blue hue to it, is editied faster and shows more of the violent scenes, whereas the US - is much more lighter, looks like 35mm, shows more of the audition scenes, with a hint of what the film is really about. You have no choice in regards to the subtitles, (on or off), they are simply there. The quality of the DVD I would say is very, very good. It cost US$30.00.

Reviewed by: Kelly Kelley