AHFW’s Movie of the Week is “Audition”, director Takashi Miike’s ghoulish modern classic.
“Audition” (1999) – The dating world isn’t easy. Just ask anyone trying meet their soulmate on Match.com. Hey, it may work out for a few lucky singles, but more often than not, it’s a minefield.
Well, back in 1999, dating apps didn’t exist, and Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) – a widower for seven years – cannot seem to meet anyone. His friend Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) suggests that he advertise and hold a fake audition for a movie. Then, he could meet plenty of young women and perhaps, his future better half. Well, it turns out that dating in 1999 is an infinitely worse minefield in director Takashi Miike’s “Audition”.
Yoshikawa’s (Jun Kunimura) deceptive form of speed dating 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 as well.
Eihi Shiina stars as a bright shiny object that catches Yoshikawa’s eye, even though this beautiful 24 year-old – demure, soft-spoken, and dressed in all white – is more than meets the….well, eye.
Shiina and Ishibashi perfectly play opposites in the dating world and in life. Asami (Shiina) has her whole life in front of her. She could have her pick of men with barely a hint of effort, while Aoyama is nearly emotionally broken in two. He’s lonely, desperate and also facing Father Time…who is ultimately undefeated. This dynamic plays into desire with Asami holding the cards that Aoyama wishes to play, as trust and semi-clouded judgment are necessary ingredients mixed 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