Takashi Miike’s career can be described in two ways; as both the director of over 100 films, and a genre-hopping cinematic master. Granted, he has to go some way to best John Ford or Michael Curtiz – 175 and 140+ respectively – but Miike shows no signs of slowing down and may well eclipse Curtiz before his number’s up.
I have confession, however. I’ve never seen a Takashi Miike film. I double-checked just in case, but to my eternal guilt, no, I am uninitiated in the ways of the Japanese auteur. Of course, I am familiar with his work, but I am yet to actually sit down and watch one. I know, for example that the likes of Ichi The Killer is very popular among genre fans, but the title that nearly always makes ‘best of’ lists for horror movies is his 1999 effort, Ōdishon (Audition).
Based on Ryū Murakami’s 1997 novel by the same name, about a widower who seeks and finds a new partner with a very dark past, it’s a tricky film to pin down. A cursory look online describes Audition variously as torture porn, feminist, misogynistic, shocking, beautiful, audacious, and unwatchable.
What is clear, though, is that among horror fans Audition is a genre classic. Whether it’s Miike’s best, I’ve no idea, for obvious reasons, but it certainly appears to pack an almighty punch, judging from the plot synopsis I’ve read, and in the character of Asami Yamazaki, played by Eihi Shiina, is a female villain every bit as formidable as Annie Wilkes or Alex Forrest.
But what kind of film is it? Ostensibly it looks to be a slasher of sorts, although one or two of Asami’s victims are seemingly dead before we meet her, so perhaps I might be right in suggesting that it’s closer to Fatal Attraction and the aforementioned Alex Forrest’s spurned lover.
Either way, I’m keen to give this one a go at some point, so let me know your thoughts #FilmTwitter. Are you an avowed fan or do you think it’s overrated rubbish?