Ryu Murakami - Audition (3 stars)

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Ryu Murakami - Audition

(Bloomsbury)

THRILLER NOVELLA

Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike’s cult favourite has all but eclipsed the psycho-sexual-thriller novel by Ryu Murakami on which the 1999 movie is based. The simple prose of Murakami’s slim volume (here translated by the author’s regular, Ralph McCarthy) can’t compete with Miike’s horribly vivid and extremely disturbing images, which will have left an indelible imprint on the mind’s eye of anyone who has seen them. It tells of a widower looking to remarry who sets up a series of fake film auditions with actresses, and gets a lot more than he bargained for when he meets young ice maiden Yamasaki.

Part of the problem here is that Miike took Murakami’s chilling cautionary tale, and pushes it right over the edge creating a far more twisted nightmare. Thus, the book’s sadomasochistic climax doesn’t go nearly as far as the film and, by comparison, now reads as watered-down. One for those (presumably few) J-horror fans who haven’t seen the movie.

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