“Audition” (1999) – The dating world isn’t easy in 2018. Just ask anyone who has tried to meet their significant other on Match.com. Hey, it may work out for a few lucky souls, but more often than not, it is a minefield.
Well, back in 1999, dating apps were not invented yet, and Shigehiko Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a widower for seven years, cannot seem to connect anyone. His friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) suggests an unusual and fraudulent approach to meet plenty of young women and perhaps his soulmate. Well, it turns out that dating in 1999 is an infinitely worse minefield in director Takashi Miike’s ghoulish picture “Audition”.
Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) offers good intentions to help his friend, but, in the process, it will terribly mislead 30 hopeful women. Karma could be Miike’s important lesson for the audience, because the woman of Aoyama’s dreams might just be dishonest with him.
Eihi Shiina stars as a bright shiny object that catches Yoshikawa’s eye, and even though this beautiful 24 year-old is demure, soft-spoken and dressed in all white, there is more to her than meets the….well, eye.
Shiina and Ishibashi perfectly play opposites in the dating world and in life. Asami (Shiina) is young and beautiful, and all the options of men and work could be freely presented to her with just a hint of effort. Meanwhile Aoyama is nearly emotionally broken and mourning the loss of his wife. Aoyama is lonely and desperate, and although he is middle-aged, he hears the perceived ticking of Father Time, who is ultimately undefeated, by the way. This dynamic plays into his desire, but Asami holds the cards that Aoyama wishes to play. This trust and semi-clouded judgment are necessary ingredients into Miike’s premise.
Be warned, the film delves into psychological and physical territory that highlights how ordinary people can enact extraordinary carnage. Not for the weak of heart, “Audition” is an unforgettable and depraved 1-hour 55-minute experience that will encourage you to sleep with the lights on.
Oh, and delete your dating app.
Image credits: Omega Project; Trailer credits: Arrow Video