Audition (1999 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Takashi Miike|
|Produced by||Satoshi Fukushima
|Screenplay by||Daisuke Tengan|
|Based on||Audition, by Ryu Murakami|
|Music by||Kōji Endō|
|Editing by||Yasushi Shimamura|
Creators Company Connection
Omega Project Inc.
|Distributed by||Vitagraph Films (US)|
|Release dates||6 October 1999 (Vancouver International Film Festival)|
|Running time||115 minutes|
Audition (オーディション Ōdishon?) is a 1999 Japanese psychological horror film, directed by Takashi Miike and starring Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina. It is based on a Ryu Murakami novel of the same title, from a screenplay by Daisuke Tengan. The film was screened at the 1999 Vancouver International Film Festival and was released theatrically in Japan on March 3, 2000. Over the years, the film has developed a cult following.
Shigeharu Aoyama (青山 重治 Aoyama Shigeharu?) (Ryo Ishibashi), a middle-aged widower of seven years, is urged by his 17-year-old son, Shigehiko Aoyama (青山 重彦 Aoyama Shigehiko?) (Tetsu Sawaki), to begin dating again. Aoyama's friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa (吉川泰久 Yoshikawa Yasuhisa?) (Jun Kunimura), a film producer, devises a mock casting audition in which young women audition for the "part" of Aoyama's new wife. Aoyama agrees to the plan and is immediately enchanted by Asami Yamazaki (山崎 麻美 Yamazaki Asami?) (Eihi Shiina), attracted to her apparent emotional depth.
Yoshikawa has a bad feeling about Asami as he cannot reach any of the references on her résumé. The music producer she claimed to work for is missing. However, Aoyama is so enthralled by her that he pursues her anyway. She lives in an empty apartment, containing a sack and a phone. For four days after the audition, she sits perfectly still next to the phone waiting for it to ring. When it finally does, she answers pretending that she never expected Aoyama to call. After several dates, she agrees to accompany him to a seaside hotel. Asami reveals that she was abused as a child and shows burn scars on her body. A deeply moved Aoyama pledges his love. In the morning, Asami is nowhere to be found.
Aoyama tries to track her down using her résumé, but as Yoshikawa warned, all of the contacts are dead ends. At the dance studio where she claimed to have trained, he finds a man with prosthetic feet. The bar where she claimed to work has been abandoned for a year, following the murder and dismemberment of the owner. A passerby tells Aoyama that the police found three extra fingers, an extra ear, and an extra tongue when they recovered the body. Meanwhile, Asami goes to Aoyama's house and finds a photo of his late wife. Enraged, she drugs his liquor. Aoyama comes home, pours a drink, and begins feeling the effects of the drug. A flashback shows that the sack in Asami's apartment contains a man missing both feet, his tongue, one ear and three fingers on one hand. He crawls out and begs for food. Asami vomits into a dog dish and places it on the floor for the man. The man sticks his face into the vomit and hungrily consumes it.
Aoyama collapses from the drug. Asami injects him with a paralytic agent that leaves his nerves alert, and tortures him with needles. She tells him that, just like everyone else in her life, he has failed to love only her. She cannot tolerate his feelings for anyone else, even his own son. She inserts needles into his eyes, giggling "kiri, kiri" ("deeper, deeper") as she does so. She then cuts off his left foot with piano wire. Shigehiko returns home as Asami begins to cut off Aoyama's other foot, and they struggle. Aoyama has a dream that he is waking up after he and Asami made love, and that his ordeal was only a nightmare. He awakes from the dream to see his son still struggling with Asami. Shigehiko kicks her down a flight of stairs, breaking her neck. Aoyama tells his son to call the police and stares at the dying Asami, who repeats what she said on their second date about her excitement on seeing him again.
- Ryo Ishibashi as Shigeharu Aoyama (青山 重治 Aoyama Shigeharu?)
- Eihi Shiina as Asami Yamazaki (山崎 麻美 Yamazaki Asami?)
- Jun Kunimura as Yasuhisa Yoshikawa (吉川泰久 Yoshikawa Yasuhisa?)
- Miyuki Matsuda as Ryoko Aoyama (青山良子 Aoyama Ryoko?)
- Toshie Negishi as Rie (リエ?)
- Tetsu Sawaki as Shigehiko Aoyama (青山 重彦 Aoyama Shigehiko?)
- Shigeru Saiki as Toastmaster (酒場のマスター Sakaba no masutā?)
- Ken Mitsuishi as Director (ディレクター Direkutā?)
- Ren Ohsugi as Shimada (芝田?)
- Renji Ishibashi as Old man in wheelchair (車椅子の老人 Kurumaisu no rōjin?)
For its unflinching graphic content, the film has been likened to the film adaptation of Stephen King's Misery and Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses. However, the torture scene in the movie is very brief, and only a few shots show the actual torture, focusing more on Asami's sadistic enjoyment of it.
Among filmmakers featured on US TV channel Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments (on which the film appeared at number 11), notable horror directors Eli Roth, John Landis and Rob Zombie claimed to have found the film very difficult to watch, given its grisly content; Landis said that the film was so disturbing that he couldn't enjoy it at all. Bloody Disgusting ranked the film fourteenth in their list of the top 20 horror films of the 2000s, with the article saying, "Considered by many to be Takashi Miike's masterpiece, this cringe-inducing, seriously disturbed film boasts one of the most unbearable scenes of torture in movie history... It's revolting in the best possible way; the prolific Miike goes for the jugular here, and he cuts deep." In the early 2010s, Time Out conducted a poll with several authors, directors, actors and critics who have worked within the horror genre to vote for their top horror films. Audition placed at number 18 on their top 100 list.
- "Audition (1999)". AllMovie. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
- "オーディション" (in Japanese). JMDB. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
- Tobias, Scott (12 November 2008). "The New Cult Canon: Audition". avclub.com. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- Rayns, Tony (18 March 2001). "Film: From Tokyo, without love We are lapping up the current wave of extreme Japanese cinema. Plus ca change, says Tony Rayns". The Independent. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "Audition (Ôdishon) (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- "Audition – #11 in Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments". YouTube. 19 October 2006. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 2". Bloody Disgusting. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "The 100 best horror films". Time Out. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- CC. "The 100 best horror films: the list". Time Out. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- Audition at the Internet Movie Database
- オーディション at the Japanese Movie Database (Japanese)
- Audition at Rotten Tomatoes