A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is rampant with bizarre sadomasochistic gore and violence. Fingers and tongues are chopped off. A man's eyes are stabbed with acupuncture needles. A little girl is tortured and burned with an iron, a man is horribly disfigured, trapped in a bag, and fed vomit, a woman tortures a man by cutting off his feet, puncturing his eyes with needles; various graphic and grisly S&M sequences. Girls undress for men during an audition, a father has explicit fantasies involving a co-worker and his son's teenage girlfriend, a ballet teacher tortures and molests his student. Themes of incest and trauma are also present.
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What's the story?
Shaken by his wife's death, TV executive Shigeharu (Ryo Ishibashi) bonds with his young son. Together, they share meals, jokes -- even dating tips. It's one of these harmless teenage suggestions from his son that puts AUDITION's gears in motion. Shigeharu holds a taped live casting call for the most beautiful, educated women of Japan, but he's really searching for a new wife. Enter demure, beautiful Asami Yamazaki (Elhi Shiina), who is everything Shigeharu hoped for. He begins a cat and mouse game to land her affections. After a few dates, she agrees to marry him, but it's not a happy marriage. Angry at the lies he's told her, Asami drugs and brutally tortures Shigeharu, to educate him in the laws of pain. The ghost of a former boss surfaces -- a hideously deformed creature unable to move or speak. She has kept him trapped in a bag, cut off his feet and tongue, and fed him a bowl of her own vomit. The abused abuse others. The cycle continues, until the social order itself it is altered.
Is it any good?
As a morality tale on the power dynamic between men and women in society, Audition works. Filmmaker Takashi Miike uses a traditional outlook to shock and trick us. By accepting the rules, we expect Shigeharu to marry the woman of his dreams. But when he marries, the movie self-destructs. In effect, we disregard the fact that she, and countless other women in the film, have been deceived and treated like cattle. We still expect a happy ending -- and for that, we're punished severely.
Teens who have already heard about the film's genre switch may watch for thrills, but only a handful will actually be able to sit through the hideous, sickening torture sequences. Those who go in to the film blindly will not enjoy feeling tricked and penalized. This movie is definitely NOT for kids.
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