Film: Audition (Ôdishon)
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Daisuke Tengan
Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina and Tetsu Sawaki
This film begins in a hospital. The main character is played by Ryo Ishibashi. His wife is dying and she is played by Miyuki Matsuda. Matsuda dies and right as the doctor leaves, their son comes in.
We then shift seven years into the future. Ishibashi is fishing with his son, who is now played by Tetsu Sawaki. Sawaki tells his father that he is looking older and he needs to remarry. He thinks it will be best for him. There is a scene where Ishibashi interacts with an employee. She acts funny around Ishibashi, but he doesn’t seem to pay her much attention.
Ishibashi meets his friend, played by Jun Kunimura, at a bar. They talk about their lives and we learn that Kunimura works in the film industry. Ishibashi informs him that he is going to remarry, but he has not found who that will be yet. Kunimura asks how he will find her and Ishibashi states he doesn’t know. He says that ideally he will be able to watch a few and then pick the best one. Kunimura comes up with having an audition for him.
Kunimura takes a story that Ishibashi gave to them. He will use this audition to possible cast it, but he can also use it for his friend to find someone as well. Ishibashi goes through lots of resumes. Sawaki interrupts him, forcing him to put down his coffee on one of them. Sawaki tells his father that he has a guest, his new girlfriend. Ishibashi was upset at first, but then happy for him. This seems to put more pressure on his father.
Ishibashi picks up the resume that he put his coffee on it. As he reads through it, this is the young woman he really wants to meet.
They audition 30 different women. Kunimura asks some pretty crazy and off the wall questions. He finds some that will work in different projects that are in the works, but Ishibashi is quiet until Eihi Shiina’s audition. He asks her some pretty odd questions and Kunimura knows that he was interested in from the beginning.
After this, Ishibashi calls Shiina to meet with her. They have drinks together and he gets to know her more. She is quiet, but seems very happy that he wanted to meet with her. Ishibashi tells Kunimura about her, but he is cautious. He states that he looked into the agent she claimed to work for, but this person has never heard of her.
Shiina has a haunted and tortured past. She stated in her resume that he was training to do ballet, but she broke her hips and had to give it up. She claimed giving it up was a lot like dying. This is part of the reason Ishibashi is drawn to her. She tells us that she is lonely and really has no one to talk to. Kunimura warns Ishibashi and makes him promise not to call her.
We then get Ishibashi going about his days, looking at the phone, wanting to call her, but keeping his promise. We also get another odd scene with this employee who is supposed to be getting married, but seems frazzled. There is history there that bothers her, but Ishibashi ignores it. This whole time we see Shiina sitting in a messy room, on her knees looking at the floor. There is a sack in the room with her that moves and makes a weird sound. There is also a phone. We also get her as a child doing the same thing, just waiting.
Ishibashi finally calls her. She smiles as the phone rings. They go out again. Ishibashi tells his son that they are taking a trip and he will propose to her then. On this trip, she stops him from talking and gets undressed. She wants him to look at her naked body, to look at her scars that are on her upper thigh. They then make love. Ishibashi is woken up in the middle of the night by the phone. It is a man from the hotel telling him that Shiina has left.
Ishibashi goes about trying to find her. He remembers things that are said to him from her past and from her resume. As he searches them out, things become very weird. The ballet school she went to is closed, but there is a wheelchair bound man, played by Renji Ishibashi, who is cryptic in talking about Shiina. Ryo also goes to the bar she said she worked at and learned the owner met a cruel fate.
Can Ryo Ishibashi find Shiina? Is there something wrong with her? Did she cause these people pain or was it a just a coincidence?
I have to say that this film really isn’t that scary, but it definitely is disturbing. This film plays the fact that Ryo Ishibashi is lonely. After his wife died, he focused on giving the best life for his son. He wants to find a woman who is similar to that, so they both make each other happy. The problem ends up being in the way that he goes about it. I thought Shiina was great role as well as Ryo. I don’t mind that really nothing happens in this film, but we get glimpses of creepy things. It definitely comes to a head in the final 30 minutes.
My biggest issue with this film is that you don’t really know it is a horror film until those final 30 minutes. If I didn’t know what I was coming in to watch, I could not have told you for most of the film. I think this film has a good enough following where anyone coming in has an idea of what is going to happen, but if not, some people might have turned it off as a bad romance film. Like I said, there are some things throughout that make a lot more sense in the end, but that is that struck me while watching this film.
I would recommend giving this film a viewing. I will warn you that this is from Japan. The version I watched was in Japanese with English subtitles. I do believe there is a dubbed soundtrack for those that need it in English. I think that the acting for this is really good, the story is as well and the ending is great. It has a very surreal feel that make you question what is going on. This film definitely plays on something that many people go through and that makes it that much scarier. This film is definitely worth giving a chance to.
My Rating: 7 out of 10