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- Every once in a great while, you stumble upon a movie that you immediately know is a masterpiece. I had read what other people had written about Audition, but didn't really believe all the hype. Surely it couldn't be as good as people claimed. After seeing Audition for the first time, I simply cannot get the film out of my mind. I doubt I can come up with enough glowing adjectives to describe the movie - disturbing, fascinating, brutal, engrossing, etc. It is quite simply on of the best movies I've ever seen. Fortunately, I knew very little about Audition before I watched. The final 30 or so minutes blew me away. I'm not going to go into detail as this would ruin the movie for those who haven't seen it. Just be prepared for one of the most shocking endings you'll ever likely see.
- The plot starts out as something right out of a Hollywood romantic-comedy. A middle-aged man wants to find a new wife. A producer friend of his sets up a series of bogus movie auditions as a way of meeting women. Does it sound enough like typical Hollywood tripe? The man meets the woman of his dreams. Or is she? What dark secrets does she hide? Watch and be amazed.
- The acting is first rate. The two leads, Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina, are both excellently cast. Ishibashi comes across as a sympathetic figure who simply wants a companion. Shiina's performance is excellent as the seemingly demure woman with a hidden secret.
- Takashi Miike is certainly a director that can be mentioned with the greats of the genre. The images he presents may be difficult to watch, but they aren't easily forgotten. Cinematography, editing, lighting, and the use of dream sequences are all first rate. Since I watched Audition, I've read numerous complaints about how slow the first part of the movie is . While it may seem slow to those more accustomed to Hollywood films where somebody is killed or something is blown-up every five minutes, the slow pace is absolutely necessary to increase the shock value of the end. Miike knew what he was doing.
- There are any number of ways to interpret the film. I'm sure that with subsequent viewings, I'll look at the events the movie presents in a different light. There's a lot here to take in during one viewing. I'm almost positive that I'll change the rating of Audition to a 10/10 after a second viewing.
Shigeharu has a conversation with his friend who set up the audition. His friend, Yasuhisa, he should just give up with this one, and that he really is just a boring middle aged man. But Shigeharu cannot accept this. He yells at Yasuhisa and storms out of the room to find Asami in person, where she lives. However, all he finds is dark, repressed secrets and memories. Then, in an ingenious shot that suddenly reveals itself to be a POV shot, we realize Asami has entered into Shigeharu's home, and drugged his whiskey, all without saying a word. Then Shigeharu comes home, and all we can do now is watch with horror as the incredibly disturbing and surreal dreams and memories unfold. It is revealed that Shigeharu once slept with his assistant who had been acting strange around him for the whole film, and it was possibly an affair. We also learn about Asami's dark past of being abused and neglected repeatedly, and eventually embracing the pain. She now only accepts all of someone's love and no less, and it cannot be shared with anyone else, wince that is what she believes she is giving them. And if not... well... let's just say she forces you to have only her and to appreciate her.
I won't go into detail with the torture scenes near the end, but let me just say, not only was I hiding behind my hands the entire time, but at one moment, I legitimately had to look away. I watch a lot of horror movies, and I've seen torture porn. None of it is nearly as genuinely disturbing as this. If I had one complaint with the film, it would be that it was maybe a bit too slow paced in the start, but of course the payoff is entirely worth it.
The film taps not only into the deepest, darkest depths of Shigeharu's psyche, but ours. For most of the film, it seems romantic, because that is the way Shigeharu looks at the world, and it's the way we look at the world. He convinces himself he loves Asami, but he is truly just using her to not be alone, and the only reason he uses her is because she is very similar to his wife. In reality, he (most likely) cheated on his wife with his secretary, and now, while he has completely neglected to acknowledge what he did, his secretary still secretly expected something more out of him, and the hints are clearly there, yet he decides to ignore them in favor of the happier story. This is what happens with Asami, and this is why the film the structured the way it is. All of the red flags for Asami are there, and even though he sees these, he refuses to accept them, and refuses to accept that he is really just a boring, middle aged man in order to fulfill his romantic fantasies. But as he is told in his dream after the gruesome torture scene, Asami is "the real heroine, not the one is the movie". Shigeharu wants the "movie heroine", but ends up revealing "the real one". After finding out about one gruesome murder Asami committed, Shigeharu is finally confronted, in the form of a question, with what the truth he has been avoiding this whole time: "Isn't the world a horrible place?"
Auteurs like David Lynch, David Cronenberg et al habitually provide Western audiences with "our" brand of horror true horror, and not that mealy-mouthed terror stuff you see in things like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and other slasher films that merely pretend to be horrific. We're comfortable with the Lynchs and Cronenbergs of our world, sort of. But, if that's your limit, then don't see this one, because you won't like this one at all. Not one bit.
This is the type of movie you only see when you think you've seen them all...because you'll never forget this one. Even now, as I think about it, my skin crawls and my scalp prickles.
Why is Audition so horrific? Because it goes right to the core of what can be un-human - truly alien - about the human condition: the ability, the willingness, and the joy yes, the sheer joy - of committing the unspeakable upon a fellow human being. In a sense, it's almost as horrific to think that the writers and director were able and willing to put the story to film. But I'll stop short of suggesting that they felt any joy in doing so.
The actual narrative is simple: an older man, Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishsibashi) wishing to remarry finally, seeks help in finding a new wife. Using his friends in the media, he interviews various would-be candidates under the guise of auditioning each for a part in a movie, and finally settles upon a beautiful young woman, Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina) who, without mincing words, is a cold, unfeeling sociopath of your worst possible nightmare. Beside her, Hannibal Lecter looks positively benign; at least he had a sense of humor.
Notice how the story has two people who are taking each other at face value, while they both lie to each other about their true motives. Is this the true state of the human condition? In many cases, that is so; and that makes this story all the more menacing. And believable. Moreover, as I follow that line of reasoning, it may well be that the story is an allegory from the female perspective about how men have treated women as prisoners and slaves through the ages, and with the character of Yamazaki cast as an Avenging Angel. Well, she looks like an angel, but...
Aoyama begins to court and romance Yamazaki and, while doing so, discovers that other men she has known have disappeared. Puzzled, he begins to investigate and inevitably is drawn deeper into her enveloping web of deceit. If you see this film, be prepared for the gut-wrenching turning point when, as the viewer, you find out what she's been doing with the men who've disappeared. Worse, you now know also what Aoyama has waiting for him...
Which leads into one of the most suspenseful final acts in movie history, I think; and one of the most gruesome, if not the most. None of the blood and gore from any of Kurosawa's epics comes even close simply because you've seen that sort of thing in other movies and, in a real sense, we've all been desensitized. But, nothing can prepare you for the final meeting between Aoyama and Yamazaki. It's so awful to watch, I've advised my adult children not to see it until they're much older, I kid you not. Of course, they ignored my advice.
We all know that we can do bad things. If you want to find out just how bad it can be, then see this film. But, I doubt that you'll ever want to see it again. Instead, see Psycho (1960) again, for the umpteenth time, okay, to brighten up your day! And you'll also know why no Western film company has dared to make a Western version of Audition. Quiet simply, it just wouldn't be Western now, would it? Definitely not for kids and only for those who think they can handle it.
Audition is the story of a man, Aoyama, whose wife dies. He decided that he is lonely and holds a fake audition for a show (the woman picked becomes his new wife). He stumbles upon the file of a young woman named Asami, who he is immediately attracted to. He chooses her and he starts to see her on dates. As he slowly finds out Asami's past, he finds out that she is not quite who she seemed to be.
This deeply disturbing film leaves quite an impact on the viewer. It starts out as a sweet love story, but leaves the viewer, at the end of the movie, feeling like they just got punched in the stomach. The intensity of the final torture scene and the scene where Asami feeds the man that she has been severing limbs from for years are very intense.
The final 20 minutes of the movie are some of the most disturbing moments in movie history. Many viewers turn the heads away as Asami sticks needles into random parts of Aoyama's body and severs his knee.
Takashi Miike shows us that horror is not all about blood and gore. What could have been one of the most graphically violent movies ever, turns out to be nothing worse than a PG-13 movie, in terms of gore. However, it is still quite disturbing.
This taut thriller is definitely one for horror fans to see.
What begins as a stately and formal art film that appears to be about a budding romance descends into a nightmare of gory revenge that rivals the shock value of any George A. Romero bloodbath. Only it's worse. Far worse. Closer in spirit to the true creepiness of Tod Browning. Forget comparisons to David Lynch. With 'Audition,' the audience can actually interpret the events and follow the logic of a nightmare.
I start to giggle, thinking of the art house crowd who stumbled into this movie by accident. The horror, the horror.
Hmmm. Maybe I'll invite some unsuspecting cineastes over for wine and cheese and a big screen viewing of the DVD. I won't be able to take my eyes off the 'audience' as they slowly realize, like the hapless male star of this movie, what this movie is really about.
Who knew a piano wire could work like a bone saw?
An aging business man decides (after some prodding from his son) that he should start looking at re-marrying. Being a middle-aged business man makes it hard for him to simply go out and meet girls, so his friend (a film producer) comes up with the idea of holding an audition for a quasi-real movie that he can use to meet some women. None of the applicants interest the man, except for one. A lovely young girl that seems all to perfect to be real. The man begins to court her, despite is friend's advice to the contrary, and soon discovers that she is nothing of what she seems to be and may be holding onto some very dark secrets.
Miike could not have structured the film better. Early scenes are full of levity and some quirky comical bits (many of the audition scenes are really funny), but as the film progresses the tone gradually moves farther from light to dark. The tone shift is so naturally implemented that it never feels sudden or out of place. By the time all surrealistic hell breaks loose the movie has you and won't let go.
For a character driven piece like this, even Miike's direction couldn't have saved it if the writing and acting weren't up to par. Fortunately they both exceed genre standards. You feel sympathetic for the business man, he is a lonely man and would appear to be a fine mate for most any girl. Yet, you also find yourself shunning him for his deceptive tactics. The girl is much the same way in generating mixed emotions; she is unnerving and just 'not right', but she seems so sweet and innocent that you really want the two of them to end up happy.
For want of not making this sound like some melodrama, read this; I have never heard two grown men scream so loudly watching a movie. I refuse to spoil anything about the scenes in question, but when they happen you'll know. Men will definitely find this freakier than women, but many of the scares work well without regard. Gore hounds might be disappointed though, as the film finds fear in a psychological way for the most part and avoids copious violence.
Enough praise can't be heaped upon this film, one of the best genre pictures ever and one of the scariest as well.
The power of Audition, like many of Miike's other works, is that it is constantly trying to disarm and confuse the viewer - by playing with their expectations of genre and the iconography therein - before then going to bizarre (Happiness of the Katakuris) or indeed, downright disturbing (Visitor Q) lengths to pull the rug out from under us. So, with Audition, we have a film that begins as a routine melodrama, with our central character mourning the loss of his wife and struggling to raise his young son as a single parent; which is all shot naturalistically and sympathetically to the characters as three-dimensional beings. As the film progresses, it moves into its second stage; introducing a romantic subplot and briefly toying with the notions of the romantic comedy (a sort of Sleepless in Kyoto, if you will). It actually takes a full forty to fifty minutes before the film even suggestions anything slightly sinister, with a ringing telephone and the sudden movement of "something" held captive inside a festering burlap sack.
As a result, the film can often be seen as a muddled mess to those who come to it expecting one thing or another. Now, this isn't a problem with the film, but rather, a problem with how the film has been marketed, with too much expectation established by the UK distributors selling the film as a horror picture - which it is - but not in the traditional sense. Miike has stated that his intention with the film, when released in Japan at the end of the last century, was to market it as a traditional romantic drama, omitting all the shock scenes that occur in the last thirty minutes and setting it up to be a charming, frothy, feel-good film. This way the audience would be more disturbed by the eventual reveal in the final act, as our central character Shigeharu begins to further investigate Asami's dark past with devastating consequences.
Here in the UK and in America however, we know of the film as "one of the most disturbing of all time" and come to it with an impression of Miike as a director of ultra-violent, hyper-kinetic and wildly disturbing psychodramas like Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, Gozu, and his infamous episode of Masters of Horror (which was so confrontational it was banned by U.S. TV). In reality, Miike is an incredibly varied filmmaker; as comfortable with violent crime films as he is with abstract horror, and that's not even mentioning the number of sensitive dramas and neo-realist films he's worked on, such as Ley Lines, The Bird People in China, White Collar Worker Kintaro and The Great Yokai War.
Audition for me was an incredibly thought-provoking film; entertaining, sinister and occasionally quite moving in regards to it's subtle depiction of the sense of alienation central to Japanese art, literature and culture, and in also suggesting the desperate lengths that lonely characters will go in order to feel some sort of connection to the outside world. The slow-burning mood worked incredibly well for me, as did the more elegant film-making style that screams quality; once again showing us that Miike is capable of moving away from the gonzo style of his earlier crime pictures and really reminding us of the cold, clinical elegance of the work of a director like Stanley Kubrick; in particular A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut (which was released during the same year), with its continual use of muted colours, low-key lighting and imaginative use of space.
If you have any familiarity with Miike's work then Audition should be fairly high on your one to watch list. To anyone else, I'd say approach it with an open mind. Don't come to the film expecting a routine horror story, as the film moves freely between scenes of straight drama, surreal menace and moments of broader black comedy. Like most of the director's work it can be described as outrageous, but regardless, try above all else to empathise with the central characters (both of them) to better appreciate the underlining message of this great and continually misunderstood film.
From here on in the film changes direction, from a bittersweet social drama of a lonely man seeking love, from a poignant and at times funny film it veers abruptly off course to such a degree that any unsuspecting viewer would seriously be shocked at how the film plays out. The viewer now becomes unsure what is reality and what is a dream, what is the present and what is flashback .what is for sure is that this film is a brilliantly and brutally realised film, the methodical way in which the brutality is carried out is unsettling in the extreme. My advice is go see this film, it might take a second viewing to fully take in what has gone on but it is ultimately rewarding, OH!... and to get your Mother to pick your girlfriends she knows best .DEEPER DEEPER! Audition was my first adventure into Modern Asian Horror,I had put off my interest for a long time now, but one thing is for sure .it won't be my last
This Japanese horror film has garnered something of a cult following over the years and it's not hard to understand why. Its reputation is probably mainly on account of its final half hour in which it enters the realms of the torture film. Seeing as it was made in the late 90's it was somewhat ahead of the curve in terms of the subsequent boom in sadistic horror films that were in vogue in the mid 2000's. But it would be a bit unfair to simply focus on this aspect of Audition as much of its effectiveness is a result of its slow brooding build-up and some of its scariest moments are not visceral at all. Take the scene where Asami sits crouched on the floor of her darkened apartment. It's implied she has been sitting like this for days as she waits for a phone call she knows will come from Aoyama. When it does a frightening, cold smile crosses her face and a large canvas bag lying close to her suddenly spasms violently and rolls across the floor. It's a truly sinister and disturbing moment that gives so much information in such a simple way. It marks a turn in the film tonally and alerts the audience that something is terribly wrong. It's a genuinely classic moment of horror cinema.
Similar to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958), the main character in Audition is a man with a dubious objective and dark obsession with a woman. This story aspect adds an unusual dynamic to proceedings, as he is the victim yet has been deceitful and underhand so is not entirely sympathetic while Asami may be the villain yet she has a genuinely tragic back-story and is a strangely sympathetic psychopath. These layers of greyness simply add depth to proceedings and raise questions for us in the audience. All of the loose ends between the characters are tied up in a nightmare-like surreal sequence before the final gory showdown. In this dreamlike segment we learn many details and many strands of the story are linked together in strange ways. It's a bravura sequence of cinematic brilliance. Immediately after it we are given no respite whatsoever and are confronted with the true nature of Asami's vengeance in a very tough final act of clinical sadism. It's a chilling end to a hallucinatory film.
Shiina Eihi is terrific as Asami, and you certainly feel some compassion and sympathy for the character. She has a vulnerable and emotional side to her that perhaps strikes a chord with many people. She simply wants to be loved and taken care of; viewers can see as to why.
Audition examines these aspects convincingly, and makes it even more powerful and captivating to the viewer. It's a mixture of emotion and horror, tautly directed by Miike Takashi, but is definitely not for people who are easily spooked - you'll be having nightmares!
The first half may be slow for some, it's just taking it's time. We're getting to know this characters, by mannerisms, by dialog, by subtle things. We're feeling safe. Than that damn sack makes a jump (along with a scary as hell sound) in the room. And it all goes downhill from there. Something is wrong. We're not safe anymore.
Then you got all those cool things, like de nightmare sequence, which is AMAZING. Some dude eating puke. And the great, awkwardly touching finale.
Miike is a horror master. No, wait... An all-genre master.
The contrast between the beginning of the film that almost feels like a light-hearted romantic fairy tale and the conclusion that turns into a mentally and physically violent horror movie is made in a unique, profound and detailed way.
The acting by former model Eihi Shiina in her debut film as well as the performance by her male counterpart Ryo Ishibashi who had acted in a few critically underrated movies before is superb, diversified and credible.
The use of sounds, locations, light effects and camera angles is very detailed, innovative and intellectual and adds to the story that shifts between two extremes.
The director also leaves a lot of room for interpretation in a movie that seems like a mixture of a beautiful dream, a gruesome nightmare and a reality somewhere in between despair and hope. This is where Takashi Miike surpasses the novel by Ryu Murakami this movie is based upon. ''Audition'' is one of the rare cases where the movie adaption is probably better than the source material which is already stunning.
Many critics have seen themes such as family, isolation, misogyny, relationship issues and social values in this movie but I personally don't think that there is a deeper message in this film. The fact that this film can still be analyzed in so many different ways shows us the greatness of an unpretentious director who lets its audience put the pieces together without trying to spread a precise message. Even the conclusion of the movie is debatable and it's up to the audience to decide whether they witnessed a twisted dream turning into a nightmare at some point or to an accurate story.
The line between reality and dream is very thin and this adds to the mysterious atmosphere which can be seen as the fascinating guiding line to this masterpiece.
Another element that is very convincing is that you can at certain points feel with or even identify with the characters. You empathize with the poor physically abused child. You feel the fragile character of a woman that has been disappointed so many times in her life. You can understand the concern of the side characters for many different reasons. You can identify with the loneliness of the clumsy yet sympathetic widower. This empathy is what makes one of the best final scenes in the history of cinema even more intense.
The story seems to be simple but at the same time it isn't. We get to know a middle-aged widower and businessman who feels lonely despite the presence of his caring son and his adorable dog. When his teenage son starts to date a charming girl, he suggests his father to open up to a new relationship again. After some hesitation, the widower works out a plan with a clever friend and partner. They decide to arrange an audition for the female lead role of a movie project but in reality the two men are looking for a perfect wife that meets the widower's reasonable criteria. He falls for a charming, emotional and mysterious young woman that simply isn't like all the other women. He starts dating her to get to know her better and their feelings for each another seem to be mutual as the woman isn't disappointed when she gets to know that there won't be any movie with her. Despite the warnings of his friend and partner, the clumsy widower is overwhelmed by positive emotions and quickly invites the young woman for a romantic weekend at a beautiful seaside hotel where they intensify and solidify their relationship. After an emotional night, the young woman has disappeared and the confused widower tries to find her. He finds out more and more mysterious details about the young woman's past and tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Telling you anything more than this would be too revealing. Anybody who enjoys movies should watch this mysterious drama. It's one of these movies that is so great that it will leave an impressive impact on anyone who watches it.
Audition held me in a good atmosphere, really good for a movie that doesn't really have an ost. The story is very good, it's simple and effective, the idea is also enough original. The ending kept my eyes on my 32in TV with the heart who struggled with an irregular rhythm.(Awesome Ending!!!!) Ultimately the end annoyed me a bit, having as much feeling and not being able to enjoy it much longer.
A great work from Takashi Miike.
The story in "Audition" begins with the tragic death of Shigeharu Aoyama's (Ryo Ishibashi) wife, Ryoko (Miyuki Matsuda), leaving him alone to care for his young son Shigehiko (Tetsu Sawaki). Years later, his son encourages his sad lonely father to find a new wife, and his best friend Yasuhisa (Jun Kunimura) decides to help Aoyama by setting up an audition for a movie, where at the same time where Yasuhisa looks for an actress, Aoyama will look for a wife. As the audition progresses, Aoyama chooses a young shy girl named Asami (Eihi Shiina), and soon romance seems to be back to his life. However, Asami seems to have a dark secret in her past.
Based on a novel by the successful writer Ryu Murakami, "Audition" is a complex tale of obsessions and love, that mixes (and twists) familiar genres such as the family drama (a popular genre in Japan), the thriller and finally the horror film; slowly moving from one to the other in a perfectly devised way. This slow development will definitely be a turn off for those attracted by the film's (or Miike's) famous use of disturbing violence, but it's actually what makes the whole movie more powerful, as it builds up its plot in the sense that one completely becomes submerged in Aoyama's obsession with Asami in a similar way that Hitchcock's "Vertigo" did decades before.
Takashi Miike's ambiguous masterpiece plays with the established film genres breaking the normal conventions in a surreal way. With excellent eye for the visuals he comes up with a beautifully shot movie that shows that he is more than a horror film director. As the film progresses one can notice that it's not what we see what creates the suspense, but what we don't know. As Aoyama, we are never sure of what mystery does Asami hide, the only thing sure is that obsession with discovering the secret. This identification with the main character is one of the film's most powerful assets, and definitely the key factor for the ending's shocking climax.
Ryo Ishibashi gives a terrific performance as Aoyama, portraying a common everyday Japanese man. It's easy to sympathize with him and feel identified with him because he gives such a believable portrait. Eihi Shiina has without a doubt a more complex character, Asami, the secretive shy girl who seems to be Aoyama's perfect match. Shiina's acting is up to the challenge and delivers an unforgettable performance that will probably become an icon. The supporting cast is quite effective as well, giving that realism that is the main characteristic of Japanese family dramas. In fact, "Audition" could easily be classified as a hallucinatory family drama due to this twisting of that popular genre.
As written above, is this slow (but undoubtedly necessary) build up what may turn off most viewers expecting a gore-fest; but the fact is that "Audition" doesn't relay on violence to be haunting, it's the suspense and the expectation what makes the film scary. A minor complain would be that personally I feel that the ending comes up too suddenly (strange, as the film runs for 115 minutes in the uncut version), but the ambiguity it has is another good surprise. Not many directors can handle surreal tales such as this, but Miike excels at it apparently without problem.
"Ôdishon" is not a typical horror film, it's not even a typical representative of the new wave of Asian horror, it's a completely different beast that definitely delivers an unsettling but satisfying experience. It's safe to say that with time "Audition" will become a new classic, and only time will tell if there's another masterpiece in Mr. Miike's amazing magic hat. 9/10
What he has done with Audition is create a horror film that surpasses most of its American counterparts because it does something many fail to do - it creates characters we care about. The characters in this film, the antagonists as well as the protagonists, are lonely people and we feel for them. We become fascinated with their stories and honestly cheer for them to find happiness together. When the movie takes its inevitable turn towards brutal horror we find the events happening to people that the audience has emphasized with - that's what makes the brutal occurences much more gruesome than those happening to one dimensional characters in other films.
Much like the characters, the movie itself is very hard to generalize. While many have written it off as exploitation, I think that's selling this film short. It's a true work of art, and like all works it will have a different impression on each viewer. Personally, I'm very happy that this film has been released to American audiences. If you liked this I highly encourage viewing other works of Takashi Miike.
The movie opens with the death of Shigeharu Aoyama's (Ryo Ishibashi) wife in a hospital. Leaving behind her husband and her young son they grow together and live happily enough. Now in his teen years his son Shigehiko suggests he move on and find someone new in his life he begins to consider it. At his job where he works he discusses this with his friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura), a film producer. Yasuhisa suggests that they hold auditions for a film they might produce in order to interview different women. In doing so he might find someone compatible to him and begin dating her.
The plan doesn't seem to be going well until Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina) walks in. Something about her immediately attracts Shigeharu to her. Her resume and her experiences fascinate him. He doesn't call her at first but finally does so. We see her sitting by the phone waiting for his call, little more in her apartment than the phone and something moving around in a large sack. After talking they arrange to meet and eventually begin dating.
On a weekend getaway Shigeharu is planning on proposing. As they undress he notices the burn scars on her body. When they finally lay down together, Asami demands that he pledge undying love to her and her alone and he agrees. The next morning he wakes to find her gone.
This leads to Shigeharu's search for Asami. As he attempts to track her down following the items on her resume he begins to learn that she might not be the woman she claimed she was. Job locations don't exist and at the dance studio where she claims to have studied he finds a man in a wheelchair with prosthetic feet. The bar she claimed to have worked in has been closed for a year after the murder and dismemberment of the owner.
Shigeharu returns home despondent but unaware that Asami has broken into his house and drugged his liquor. Paralyzed she talks to him, enraged because she found the picture of his deceased wife and thinks he is married. It is then that the weirdness begins, something most viewers won't be prepared for and the weak stomached will want to miss. But it is also captivating movie making.
Miike has never been one to shy away from violence and this film is no exception. The movie was notorious when released and stunned audiences. And yet while it contains some of the most violent moments on film even now let alone when it was released in 1999, it still offers a world of innocence and beauty as well. In addition to that they story of two lonely people, both placed in their own worlds of isolation due to very different circumstances, is a touching tale. The end result is a movie worth watching, discussing and experiencing.
Arrow Video continues to present movies like this in the most amazing fashion offering the film in a 2k restoration from original film elements. If that weren't enough they've included a number of extras that will entertain as well. These include an audio commentary track with Miike and screenwriter Daisuke Tengan, a brand new commentary track by Miike biographer Tom Mes discussing the film and it's source novel, an introduction by Miike, "Ties That Bind" a new interview with Miike, interviews with stars Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Renji Ishibashi and Ren Osugi, "Damaged Romance" an appreciation by Japanese historian Tony Rayns, trailers, a reversible sleeve with original art and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin and for the first pressing only an illustrated collector's booklet featuring writing on the film by Anton Bitel.
I've praised Arrow Video in the past and will continue to do so in the future as long as they offer movies in such great condition this way. Fans of world cinema and movies in general will want to make a point to check this one out. Just make sure you can stomach violence before doing so.