Audition (Ôdishon) (1999) • Japan • Takashi Miike

The infamous needle torture is more conceptually gruesome than it appears in practice at the end of this film, but the foot amputation by wire is kick-ass-sexy-hard-to-watch. I wish Miike would have shot it without those few quick flashbacks, however. They cut into the flow.

This is a pretty normal film about a man who lost his wife to illness and is being encouraged by his colleagues and his son to find another partner. That is, until it goes bonkers at the end ... a nice manipulation technique by the director. Eihi Shiina's range of performance from ideal femininity to psycho-killer is fabulous and accounts for a sizable chunk of the shock we experience at the end of the film. You'll watch the wire part because this woman is so beautiful and the pleasure she takes in her work so adorable.


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