Wow some of these Asian films are beautifully fucked up.
Audition (or Odishon for our Japanese readers) is the story of a widower's sadly pathetic attempts to find himself a new wife. His obnoxious movie-making friend helps him out by holding a pretend audition for a non-existent film, where hopefully he will be able to meet the woman of his dreams from one of the many beauties that try out. He finds a fractured soul in the young and beautiful Asami, a woman obviously still profoundly affected by the abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her Uncle and Aunt.
Obviously still profoundly affected.
What follows is a few seemingly mundane dinner dates and a weekend away – the usual courtship dance. Nothing too special going on here – except for a strange tease of things to come when we get a glimpse of Asami's apartment. There's quite a touching scene when, on their trip away, Asami bears her body for her lover to see, scars and all, as she wants him to see all of her, to love all of her. Her and only her.
From here the film goes haywire. Does Asami even exist? Has he been drugged? Is it just a bad dream, is he just plagued by guilt about his dead wife? Or has he really fallen pray to a psychopath who seems to be reenacting the abuse she suffered as a child on others? The film answers that pretty resolutely, and in shocking fashion.
Audition features the most brutal look-between-your-fingers torture scene I've ever seen. I had heard about it, and knew it was coming, but sweet merciful Zeus that didn't lessen the shock.
Director Takashi Miike has made a film about how true horror can jump out of anywhere, such is the scary unpredictability of everyday life. There's also a moral in here and a lesson to be learnt about staging a fake audition for a non-existent film just to meet hot chicks: Don't.