Quite apart from the (literally) near unwatchable finale, this is an exceptional thriller: the bold gambit of setting it up as a quiet romantic drama pays off, and the middle section, as a descent into hell, is crafted in a manner worthy of Hitchcock. There is also an intriguing ambiguity at it's center (there are two mutually exclusive readings of the finale). Unpleasant, but unforgettable.
Marianne Kătelyn's review beautifully expresses Audition's tricksy praxis. Upon rewatching what impressed me was how restrained the film is in its cruelty... almost kind. Elicited from me more pity than repulsion. Both protagonists might have been good people if it weren't for him: lack of integrity; her: excess of idealism. For all its post-modern playfulness, it almost feels like a traditionally tragic story.
My favorite horror movie. Perfectly, subtly modulated feminism, the slowest burn you ever did see, a rom-com narrative that melts and drips into surrealist trauma. Scary beyond comprehension -- and complex. The villain is logically villainous; the sexism and selfishness of the protagonist is entirely catalyzed by societal pressure. This is the third time I've watched it and it always makes me upset and thrilled.
I liked the build-up towards that squeamish final minutes. The dream sequences could have been better planned and placed within the film, because it felt like they were stalling the main action and not particularly bringing something new to the table. The film itself could easily have lost 15-20 minutes of its running time. But overall it's a stylish effort from Miike that resisted to just give away the body horror.
2-3. First thing's first; I think about 50% of the gore is handled rather tastefully and the other half is kinda gratuitous. I also think that Miike's editing gives the final part of the film an unnecessarily abstract feeling, when the movie had been doing fine in evoking from a lateral logic and setting up to that point. Otherwise, I think most of the social points the film makes are okay.