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'Saw' *** 050905
The Work =***
Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Adam (Leigh Whannell) awaken in a concrete room. They are shackled to pipes and have no memory of how they got there. Meanwhile another story follows Detective Tapp (Danny Glover) and Detective Sing (Ken Leung) as they track the so-called jigsaw killer. The film jumps around back and forth between the stories at various points in time and builds as time begins to run out for Dr. Gordon and Adam. Now, who is the Jigsaw killer? Why is he building such ridiculously elaborate traps? I will let you guess which of those questions is not answered.
The thing is the movie so wants to be an intelligent thinking man’s horror film. The problem is, it is really not. Several times it drove me crazy when characters would fail to do something that could have helped their situation. There is also the problem of what I call “the stupid cops.” I hate it in films when there is one or more supposedly dedicated and clever detectives who then proceeds to be so stupid that they don’t see clues, walk into danger, etc.
That’s not to say detectives can't make mistakes, be flawed etc. but when they do so seemingly for no other reason than to raise suspense, make a plot point, or drag out a scene etc. Like so many clever serial killer type films this one stands in the shadow of 'Se7en'. The difference between the two films, I think, is that 'Se7en' is character driven. When a character would make a mistake there would be a reason for it other than a plot device.
This brings me back to my conundrum. What I’ve said is true but 'Se7en' had a substantial budget behind it and a longer shooting schedule. They had more time to get shots, flush out the story, rehearse the characters, etc. So, it is probably not fair to compare the two. That being said, I still couldn’t help that it came up in the back of my mind. At the end of the day 'Saw', is a well made film with fine performances. It serves as a show case for the talent involved, especially Wan. Many sequences are sufficiently creepy and do the scare job. I suspect that genre fans may enjoy it more than I did. I give it a marginal recommendation but would add that the film seems more impressive knowing how it was made.
DVD = ***
Supposedly this film originally got an NC-17 rating and it would have been nice to have it included here. Also the version of the film that was shown at Sundance was considerably different than the final version. This DVD really needed a full blown documentary about the making of it and the different versions.
All Together = ***
This film certainly has its fans and I can see why. For me it just seemed ok but knowing how it was made gave me a greater appreciation for it. I say if you are a fan of horror/ thrillers and don’t mind some disturbing gore than give it a try. Otherwise if you are really curious give it a rental first.
Copyright 2005 - 2012 Nate Bundy. All rights reserved.