Sunday, October 7, 2012

Movie Review: 'Audition' (1999)

By Ryan Clark
 
"Words create lies. Pain can be trusted."

I first saw Audition when it aired several years ago on IFC.  I wasn't a very sophisticated film watcher at that time, so I didn't "get" it.  I remember liking the first hour, but it lost me when things got weird.  I'm still not a fan of Japanese horror films in general – they typically do not resonate with me – but now that I am adept at understanding what's going on when I'm watching a film, I like Audition a lot more.

It's better, of course, if you go into it not knowing anything.  I had the film spoiled for me by that damn Bravo's Scariest Movie Moments special, so I was not at all surprised by what transpired.  The benefit of watching Audition for a second time is being able to enjoy the techniques that Takashi Miike employs to arouse the feeling of dread that only the best horror films have, rather than waiting for the freaky stuff. 

While I'm unsure if it will lend itself to further viewings, this is a really well-conceived psychological horror film.  It's also stunningly photographed.  It could have been just another version of Play Misty for Me or Fatal Attraction; with all due respect to the excellent performances by Jessica Walters and Glenn Close, it's actually so much deeper than either of those films.  The psychology of the characters in Audition is fascinating.  There is so much lurking beneath the surface.  It's like Miike is saying that you are destined to pick the wrong partner if you're looking too hard.


Reviewed for Final Girl's SHOCKtober 2012.

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