Saturday, March 16, 2013
I finally saw Miike's Audition, expecting an unmitigated shocker and getting, to my pleasant surprise, something quite different. The first third plays like an Ozu film, the second third seems to take a page from Fellini, and then not until the final twenty minutes does it become the disturbing hyper-grotesque horror film that's made it such a cult hit. And in all honesty I didn't find the ending to be all that painful to watch, almost tame compared to the scenes of cinematic torture it inspired. In fact, I didn't feel the need to close my eyes once, though I was tempted to turn off the volume during flesh-cutting wire scene. I'm always astounded when I watch Miike's work to see how intelligent a filmmaker he is. He's in that group of massively talented directors who's inspired so much trash cinema. People want to make movies like Miike does but they forget that's his genius lies not in his willingness to depict extreme acts of violence but in the fact that he knows the great filmmakers of the past and he recognizes that violence should serve a greater purpose than just providing a visceral shock. One merely needs to see his most popular works, this and 13 Assassins to discern this, and ultimately appreciate the complexity of his work that fanboys often overlook.