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500 Five-Star: Audition (1999)

July 9, 2011

(Note: I’m off on holiday the day after tomorrow, so this will be my last post for a week or so.  I’ll be carrying on with the 500 Five-Star project while I’m away, so get ready for lots more reviews on my return!)



It’s pretty much impossible to describe Audition as entertainment.  It is an extremely well-executed film, no doubt about that.  But entertainment?  No.  I can’t imagine anyone watching this for the first time particularly enjoyed the experience, or didn’t wish they were absolutely anywhere else in the world rather than in front of the cinema/TV screen.  Depending on your interpretation of the film, you may even wish to avoid so much as thinking about it ever again…though it’s fair to say that’s easier said than done.  If you choose to view it as a straightforward horror film, featuring one of the most twisted, evil, psychotic characters in cinema history, then you’re going to be having nightmares for quite a while.  If, like me, you choose to view it as more of a psychological drama with complex social subtext, then it is probably a little easier to deal with.  Nobody, possibly not even director Takeshi Miike, knows what the correct interpretation is.  It’s entirely possible that my own understanding of Audition is a whole heap of nonsense and simply came out of that need to make the film that little bit easier to digest.

Without spoilers, all I can say is that Audition, to me, is a fascinating exploration of man’s guilt and woman’s repressed power, disguised as a particularly gruesome torture flick.  It’s brilliantly done; the film starts off as a quirky romantic comedy before becoming gradually more disturbing and unnerving.  It is a masterclass in slow-building tension, and by the time the horrific finale comes around it’s an almost-guarantee that your nerves will be shredded like never before.  Just making it to the end feels like an achievement and no matter what your final opinion is, chances are you’ll never forget watching it.


It’s certainly memorable; to some it will be for the right reasons, and to some it will be for the wrong reasons.  For me, and obviously for Empire too, it’s for the right reasons:


One Comment leave one →
  1. Shearer206 permalink
    July 25, 2011 12:50 pm

    Watching this film is absolute torture!

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