If someone sat you down at a television and put this movie on without you knowing anything about it, you’d probably assume you were watching a pretty standard drama movie. You’d think that the scenario was perfectly normal and that you weren’t really in for anything all that shocking. How wrong you’d be.

The DVD box described this movie as a “swan dive into a pool of spikes and razor wire”. What better way to put it.

Directed by Takashi Miike you KNOW you’re not in for just some normal drama where nothing shocking happens.

We start off with Aoyama in a hospital with his wife who slowly dies before his eyes of what we assume are natural causes. The heart monitor slowly flat lines and we see Aoyama bow his head at her bedside in sadness. His young son walks through the doors with a model of a prehistoric landscape with dinosaurs that has a giant flower that says, “Get well soon, Mommy”. Aoyama turns to the boy who says, “I brought this for Mommy.” Aoyama can only nod at his son as he tries to keep his composure.

The movie then proceeds probably about ten years, Aoyama and his son have grown close but his son comments at dinner that Aoyama looks old and that he should remarry. Aoyama, who works as a video producer of his own company, takes it somewhat to heart. While talking to a friend of his decides that they should hold an audition for a movie Aoyama had once pitched. The thought being that Aoyama could pick a woman to date and marry but also get work for his company with the new movie. However, the sponsorship deal for the movie fails and the movie has no chance of being made. They still hold the audition, now the main goal being to find Aoyama a woman.

Aoyama had previously been given several packets of resumes to sift through to find thirty potential women. As he is sifting through the numerous resumes he, by total happen-stance, spills some of his tea on one of the resumes. Naturally, it is a girl that he finds himself totally enamored with and is attracted to everything about her.

So, of course, during the interview process Aoyama shows little to no interest in all of the other girls. It is a somewhat comical scene as they interview every variety of woman under the sun. There is a porn star that strips naked, a girl that takes pride in cut marks on her arms from attempted suicides, a cheerleader and even a salsa dancer. There was one girl that said her name was “Ren Osugi” that made Aoyama and his friend burst in laughter then immediately reject her. Be it because Ren Osugi is the name of a rather popular drama actor in Japan or because one of the cast member’s name is Ren Osugi is anyone’s guess. But, of course, as soon as Asami Yamazaki, the girl he was enamored with, enters he perks up and starts complimenting everything about her resume. She was a passionate ballet dancer but hurt her hip when she was eight-teen and wrote that giving up ballet was like accepting death, to which Aoyama thought was a very mature viewpoint for a twenty seven year old. Obviously the one he had chosen, they stop the auditions after she is interviewed.

Aoyama and Asami start to date shortly after, however Aoyama’s friend who suggested the audition warns him to be cautious because several of her contacts and previous jobs don’t appear to be legitimate and some of the people she listed don’t even exist. But, blinded by his obsession to remarry and live an ideal life, Aoyama continues to see Asami. However, as they continue to date more and more of Asami’s past comes to light. What had been done to her and what she was about to do will leave you with an uneasy feeling in your stomach. What happens?

Well, it wouldn’t be a good review if I told you the best parts now would it? You’re going to have to watch it for yourself and find out. But let me tell you, it doesn’t end on a happy note. Not. At. All.

But one thing I did want to say is that the way Miike films the end of the movie is truly torture. He doesn’t just torture the characters, he tortures you. I’m serious. When you watch it you’ll notice that he strings out this glimmer of hope that everything is okay. He has you believing that maybe it’ll be alright. Then he slaps you in the face and puts you right back into the bloody mess you thought you left behind. It is truly devious not only to the character but to your nerves. If you had anything invested in the main characters, this scene will give you that feeling in the pit of your stomach like you just ate a rotten egg.

The acting in this movie is fantastic, Ryo Ishibashi as Aoyama is simply incredible. If the name rings a bell that’s because Ryo is the actor who played the police officer in the American remake of Ju-On, The Grudge. He is easily one of my favorite actors, Japanese or not. Everything he does just seems believable. There’s just something about him that seems real, like he’s not reading from a script or anything. He’s got this middle-aged weathered the storm vibe to him that is just…it’s hard to describe.

Eihi Shiina plays Asami Yamazaki and she does an amazing job. She pulls of looking like the sweet and innocent girl that just wants to be loved wonderfully. But when the times comes…well, I won’t say because it could give away some of the movie for anyone that hasn’t seen it.

There isn’t an abundance of gore in this movie, by Miike’s standards, but it doesn’t even matter. When Audition reaches its climax it punches you in the gut then reaches into your throat and twists your intestine around. It’ll leave you dreading hearing the words “kiri kiri kiri” ever again. You’ll never want to open a random human sized burlap bag EVER again. You’ll be weary of who you date, you’ll question everything about a girl with a questionable background. This movie will sit with you after you see it.

So, what shall we give Audition?

I give it four burlap sacks, out of five.

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