Audition (1999) - 2-Disc Collector's Edition

Genre(s): Drama / Horror / Romance
Shout Factory || NR - 115 minutes - $24.99 || October 6, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-10-15


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer(s):
Cast: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Interviews
  • Booklet
  • Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

Shigehuru, a middle-aged widower of many years, surged by his teenage son and his film producer friend to get out and start dating again. To help Shigehuru meet woman, Yoshikawa devises a plan to hold a fake audition for a leading lady. Reluctantly agreeing, Shigehuru auditions 30 young hopefuls and falls for the silent beauty of Asama, a former ballerina with a dark past. Their courtship veers from quiet romance to psycho nightmare.

I never got into the Japanese horror 'frenzy' that some did over the past decade. I've seen my fair share of them, but I don't go out of my way to watch them unless they get rave reviews and I'm able to get a copy at a low price.

The only reason I know Miike Takashi is from his banned episode of "Masters of Horror" that appeared exclusively on DVD and Blu-ray. Given the amount of violence and sheer torture I didn't really care to ever watch that one again. As someone who is a fan of the Saw films... I just couldn't get into Audition as much.

So let's talk about Audition ó an interesting premise (that will no doubt get Americanized at some point with Ashton Kutcher and Mischa Barton some day) starts out with an interesting premise ó a lonely man who uses his power as a film studio head to 'cast' a women he can fall in love with. He eventually falls for Asama, a soft-spoken female who seems like the perfect wife and mother. But things take a turn for the worse - 90 minutes into the film. That's my biggest problem with the film - the buildup is incredibly slow.

We don't even get a sense of 'oh shit' until the 1 hour mark (and even that is not that bad). If I was not told this was a horror film I could have sworn it was a romance. Eventually Asama's dark past rears its ugly head (last 20 minutes of the film) and the torturing starts. I can make it through Saw without feeling squeamish, but hearing the "Kiri, Kiri, Kiri, Kiri" over and over...holy shit. Be prepared to look away if you want to keep your food down.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Disc One:

Commentary (subtitled) with Takashi Miike & Saisuke Tengan

Disc Two: (The same DVD from the 2 Disc DVD Set)

Interviews (~1 Hour)
- Eihi Shiina
- Renji Ishibashi
- Ren Osugi
- Ryo Ishibashi

- - A pretty interesting set of interviews (most average out at about 20 minutes each) that are presented with Japanese audio and English subtitles. Its a good read, but unless your a huge fan of the film, most of it will come off being boring.

Also included are a Small Collectible Booklet, a few Theatrical Trailers and a Video Introduction.

Sadly, the Special Features from the previous DVD release (by Lionsgate) are absent. Since Shout! does not own those, I can't really fault them for it.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Audition is presented in 1.85:1 Given that the film is ten years old and was not filmed with the greatest cameras and film stock this really is the best the film is going to look. Grain is heavy throughout the film, some water spots, cigarette burns, hair, etc. itís a really gritty fest. The DVD looks nice, but if you can, spends a bit more for the Blu-ray version. The DVD does not look bad, but given how the film is supposed to look the DVD may not be what many come to expect.

Shout! has included a Japanese 5.0 and 2.0 Track. A great job by Shout! who uses the 5.0 mix to really bring the films haunting score to life. Sadly, I couldn't do so on my Blu-ray copy (see my review for a glitch) but the DVD sounded really great. Subtitles are available only in English and there is no way to turn them off.



.::OVERALL::.

Shout! has done an amazing job of bringing this cult classic to DVD (again) and there are many improvements over the previous DVD. Sadly, the Lionsgate DVD features are not present so fans may have to keep their previous DVD as well.