Audition (1999) - Takashi Miike
Well another Miike for me. This is, along with Ichi the Killer his most notorious film. Audition holds the special place of being the first Miike film I had heard of, and that goes for many people. Told of the films disturbing imagery, creepy moments, and confusing structure, one can easily get expectations high. Perhaps this film would be better to go into blind, but well some films aren't possible to do that.
The problem with the film is the pacing. Although 115 minutes, it takes about 80 before anything unusual happens. This can force most people to lose interest by the time. I'll admit I was bored out of my mind as the "plot" was unravelling. We meet our lovable loser and watch as he "auditions" a potential wife. In the process we watch him bumbling about, criticize the plot he's after, although it certainly sounds like a US reality show. Then we see him being boring on a date, and being boring while thinking about his ideal woman.
Perhaps it was the intention to make us bored. Isolate us from what's happening and give us a degree of sympathy for our main character, because his life is so boring. Either way it makes the majority of the film seem like a waste of time, or at least wasted on me. Things thankfully do start to change after a night in a hotel room, and well like most viewers it's hard not to scratch your head wondering what the hell is happening.
The story bounces around from dream to reality to back again so often that we begin to question everything that's going on. This I know was intentional. We're confused to the point, were we might even wonder if the entire thing (audition tapes included) wasn't part of some fantasy. Things get rolling and for us, it's all in good fun. I found myself sitting up in my seat towards the conclusion admiring the strange twists and turns, and only half heartedly trying to decipher what was real.
I got thrown one too many curves, and just said to hell with it, and tried to enjoy the ride. That's the best advice I could give someone about this film. If looking for a horror film you will be disappointed. If you're looking for something strange and unique, you'll be bored for a while. If you just plow into the film without a care in your head, then you may just enjoy this film. It does get good, but in my case it seemed too little too late. Miike despite his mass cult appeal doesn't seem to me to be a very great filmmaker. Or perhaps somewhere amidst all those pictures he's made is a gem, or maybe considering his age, his best is yet to come. For my money though, that best film wouldn't be Audition, a film too muddled and messed up to be truly great.