Ôdishon [Audition] (1999)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Ôdishon</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">Audition</strong>] (1999)

(In French, On Cable TV, May 2018) I had been warned against Ôdishon so often that by the time I saw it, it had lost much of its impact. Yes, it does feature a middle-aged man holding auditions to find a new girlfriend and then discovering that she’s a serial killer. It does feature a bag with disturbing content and some severe body harm. But if you know that it’s a romantic comedy that slides (and not-so-slowly) into psycho horror, it becomes significantly duller. Director Takashi Miike does have a reputation as a horror filmmaker—seeing his name attached to what initially looks like a cute comedy is enough to ring alarm bells. Then there’s the fact, not often acknowledged, that the protagonist is significantly creepy in how he manipulates young girls to sit for misleading auditions. That does take away a bit of the film’s edge, much as the ending does provide a final victory of sort, cleaning up many threads that could have been left hanging. I’m not going to pretend that this is an easy movie to watch, or that it’s comparatively tame compared to other movies—I’m maybe saying that I’m a jaded viewer, and that Audition’s shocks don’t go much beyond its plot summary. It’s still going to freak out many viewers. 

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