Sunday, October 08, 2006

AUDITION

Even with the expected kick to the face, Miike delivers a wonderous example of creative storytelling. As a fan of the From Dusk til Dawn concept and due to the horrendous marketing for it, I find it strangely similar to Audition in the genre sucker-punch sense. Even currently, it is so rare in film and underappreciated for the way it just completely alters its direction to have its fun with the audience. If you’ve read about Audition, most likely something has given it away, but for the lucky few that have no idea what it’s about, it’s probably best to stop reading here and just go rent it. Shigeharu Aoyama has been living a dismal life since his wife died a few years ago. His friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa offers him a clever ploy to get a new relationship going. Staging a fake audition for a supposed acting role, the two interview each candidate until Aoyama takes special notice in Asami Yamazaki, whom he calls and they hit it off. It’s understandable a relevant plot revelation will intrigue a larger crowd, but it makes it no fun when a simple image can just ruin a twist. Things would be much better if it went back to Hitchcock Psycho style theatre restrictions. Regardless of telltale signs of an audience sucker-punch, apparently there were people surprised by the film to go as far as walking out in disgust halfway through the film and probably throwing up in the aisle ways. There’s how rumors get started. Not everyone will appreciate it no doubt, but the innovativeness should satisfy the eager always in search of something fresh. As a first Takashi Miike film, it sure set high standards for his other work, but made me an instant fan. The plot is so ingenious it warrants me from delving in too deep. It proves how diverse Miike can be, painting an earnest romance and infusing it with originality. Even with the use of generally cliché and arty storytelling techniques, we’re able to ignore them and appreciate the story he is trying to tell and the method he takes to tell it. In one part, under the guise of wasting your time with a dream sequence, Miike just plays with the audience to a point of utter confusion. Albeit, the story is resolved clearly, unlike Suicide Circle or some Japanese horror flicks, but it’s the pure insanity that makes the end so amusing. Ryo Ishibashi’s a familiar face in Japanese cinema and gets a simple yet well-fleshed out role. I loved Eihi Shiina who is able to pull off these two roles perfectly. Better roles for her should come, especially with the hauntingly kinky use of two syllables trapped in all of our minds. Jun Kunimura was good in the supporting role he had. People here may recognize him as Boss Tanaka from Kill Bill but he’s able to pull off this sly, troublesome friend role displaying versatility from that tougher role. The substance of the film is a welcomed change from Miike. Breaking away from his standard yakuza cinema, his success is apparent in deeper films expressing morals and themes much more clearly than attempted in Ichi the Killer. Get a loved one and snuggle up for a little of Miike’s magic. You’ll learn some life lessons from the events in Audition even if they are a bit eccentric.

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