×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Audition

A truly shocking horror film about obsession gone evil, "Audition" is made even more disturbing by its haunting beauty. Lyrically paced pic may lose some ghost fans because of its deliberate style, which puts off big chills to the very end, but that's exactly what may allow it to break out of creepfest ghetto. Some arthouse play is possible, especially in latenight venues.

A truly shocking horror film about obsession gone evil, “Audition” is made even more disturbing by its haunting beauty. Lyrically paced pic may lose some ghost fans because of its deliberate style, which puts off big chills to the very end, but that’s exactly what may allow it to break out of creepfest ghetto. Some arthouse play is possible, especially in latenight venues.

This latest outrage form Takashi Miike makes the young helmer a rival to “Beat” Takeshi Kitano, with a body of work ranging from the elegant “Bird People of China” to the lonely-hit-man saga “Rainy Dog” and blood-splashing “Fudoh: The New Generation.” Here, he riffs on the biz itself by making his protag (sad-faced Ryo Ishibashi) a widowed TV producer. When the man’s teenage son tells Dad he ought to remarry before he gets any older, he holds auditions for likely wives — on the pretext of a phony movie part.

Only one candidate stands out, a former ballerina (Eihi Shiina) who always dresses in white. At first, the exec can’t believe his luck in finding this soft-voiced beauty, but her autobiographical stories never seem to check out. Then he sees the weird scars on her legs and starts hearing strange stories about people who disappeared from her life. And let’s not forget about that man with no feet or tongue she keeps in a bag on her living room floor.

“Hana-bi” lenser Hideo Yamamoto’s exquisite work lulls the viewer while editor Yasushi Shimamura pulls such smooth stunts with the time frame that auds can’t be sure where they are in the sequence of things — or whether some gruesome events are really happening at all. Most intriguingly, pic may be either a harsh critique of possessive love or a gory celebration of outright misogyny.

Audition

JAPAN

Production: An Omega Project (Tokyo) production. Produced by Akemi Suyama, Satoshi Hukushima. Executive producer, Toyoyuki Yokohama Directed by Takashi Miike. Screenplay, Daisuke Tengan, based on a novel by Ryu Murakami.

Crew: Camera (color), Hideo Yamamoto; editor, Yasushi Shimamura; music, Koji Endo; production designer, Tatsuo Ozeki. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival, Oct. 6, 1999. Running time: 115 MIN.

With: With: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Miyuki Matsuda, Renji Ishibashi.

More Film

  • Woolsey Fire Malibu

    Many Malibu Areas Still Off-Limits for Filming After Fire

    The California Film Commission has maintained its ban on filming in several Malibu areas hit by the massive Woolsey fire in Southern California last month. The commission announced Tuesday that due to continued clean-up and repair work along Pacific Coast Highway, permits for filming on the highway are not being issued at this time. PCH [...]

  • Against the Clock

    Film News Roundup: Andy Garcia's Spy Thriller 'Against the Clock' Bought by Gravitas

    In today’s film news roundup, Andy Garcia’s spy thriller is sold, “Battlestar Galactica” gets a screenwriter, and Brooklyn Decker gets an award. ACQUISITION Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to spy thriller “Against the Clock,” starring Andy Garcia, Dianna Agron (“Glee”), and Justin Bartha, Variety has learned exclusively. The film, formerly titled “Headlock,” is [...]

  • 'Pacific Rim Uprising' film premiere

    John Boyega in Talks to Star in Legal Drama 'A Naked Singularity'

    “Star Wars” actor John Boyega is in talks to star in the legal drama “A Naked Singularity” with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions on board to produce. The movie is based on Sergio De La Pava’s debut novel, which centers on a successful New York public defender whose life begins to unravel after he loses [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Outpacing 'Wonder Woman' in Fandango Pre-Sales

    Pre-sales of “Aquaman,” which opens on Thursday night, are outpacing “Wonder Woman” at the same point in the advance ticket sales cycle on online ticketer Fandango. “Wonder Woman” opened with $103 million domestically during the June 2 to June 4, 2017, weekend on its way to a $412 million North American total for Warner Bros. “Aquaman,” [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

  • Box Office: 'Aquaman,' 'Mary Poppins Returns'

    Box Office: 'Aquaman' Battles 'Mary Poppins Returns' in Crowded Holiday Weekend

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most competitive time at the multiplexes. This weekend sees two very different heroes vying for the box office crown with “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns” both eyeing sizable debuts. “Mary Poppins Returns” is getting a head start by opening on Wednesday, though estimates show “Aquaman” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content