Daisuke Tengan, Ryu Murakami, and Takashi Miike, 1999
#6, 2001 Skandies

Lizzie and I watched this over the course of two days. After the first half we turned it off purely due to it being bedtime, because we agreed that it was pretty good. Little did I know it the time that this is a movie that proves that Pattern 8 doesn't always work: it takes a left turn, all right, from being a decent movie into a craptacular one. Here come the spoilers:

Audition is about a widower whose teenage son encourages him to get remarried. He and a filmmaker friend cook up a scheme in which they organize a casting call for a movie that is really just a way for this guy to collect some phone numbers and some live-action Love Connection screeners. However, he quickly becomes fixated on one applicant in particular, a former ballerina whose essay compared her acceptance of a career-ending hip injury to acceptance of death. They go out a few times...

...and then the movie suddenly breaks out the cinematic dream logic, which I generally hate, Mulholland Dr. being the only exception that springs to mind. Here it kicked me right out of the movie — one minute I'm in the world of the story, the next I'm staring at my computer screen as yet another movie tries to get all hallucinatory by swapping characters during the cuts. And then we're in a genre movie with the ballerina decked out in a wacky outfit subjecting the widower to inventive tortures. I read one review that described the ballerina as "one of screen history's most chilling psychopaths," but the scenario is so blatantly artificial — you can practically see the filmmakers standing in the background, high-fiving each other with "dude, isn't this twisted?" grins plastered across their faces — that the only thing I was chilled by was the reminder that, oh yeah, this is a popular genre.

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