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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Slasher > Japan > Audition (1999/Shout! Factory Blu-ray + DVD)

Audition (1999/Shout! Factory Blu-ray + DVD)

 

Picture: C+/C-†††† Sound: C+/C-†††† Extras: B†††† Feature: B

 

 

Audition, by Japanese director Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer) has earned itself a bit of a reputation amongst fans of strange, violent, and generally un-Hollywood cinema, and rightfully so.Audition boasts a highly non-linear plot that may or may not add up to one or more coherent stories.Plus, actress Eihi Shiina is disturbingly eerie as the beautiful but deeply damaged Asami.

 

Ryo Ishibashi (The Grudge, Trapped Ashes) plays Shigeharu, a lonely movie executive who never got over the death of his wife.When his son suggests that he find himself a new wife, a friend puts together an audition to help him find the right woman.Immediately Shigeharu falls in love with Asami, a seemingly shy girl whose career as a dancer ended after an injury.The more Shigeharu becomes involved with Asami though, the farther heís pulled towards the disturbing truth about her.

 

A fair way to describe Audition would be David Lynch-esque with just a splash of Eli Roth.Thereís a lot to analyze in this film and it begs multiple viewings, if you have the stomach for it.

 

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image may be a new transfer, but it looks noisy, grainy and may even have some odd edge enhancement, plus you get motion blur and other distractions here and there.The anamorphically enhanced 16:9 widescreen DVD is decent at best, but somewhat grainy and usually so, softness and noise included, hiding some of the flaws the Blu-ray shows.This may have been low budget, but it can look better than this.

 

The original theatrical audio was DTS analog stereo and Dolby SR (Spectral Recording) advanced analog playback, upgraded on the Blu-ray in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.0 and Dolby TrueHD 5.0 mixes (with no real differences) that are underwhelming and not that impressive.There is some echo and room tone thatís a bit distracting from time to time and the lossless nature reveals the low budget of the film.The DVDís Dolby Digital 5.0 mix is even worse and much weaker throughout than the Blu-ray offerings, but the integrity of the SR (if any) is lost in all cases.

 

The extras on both versions include a commentary track with Miike and screenwriter Daisuke Tengan and the second disc contains interviews with several of the cast members.In addition, this release includes a booklet with a short essay by Tom Mes about the film.

 

Audition starts out almost lighthearted but descends slowly into the strange, the surreal, and the disturbing.By the end, the film is as unsettling as it is masterful.

 

 

-†† Matthew Carrick & Nicholas Sheffo


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