10 February 2007


Grade: D+
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Written by: Leigh Whannell

Deetily deet de dee, two ladies, and the serial kiler Jigsaw is the only man. Yeah! Looks as though the previous Saw films' piece pan is about to have a deathbed delight; too bad one is a bitchy power-drill wielding brain surgeon and the other is a homicidal psychopath. Deetily deet dee oh.

Just when my faith in film was being re-energized by Children of Men, I made the mistake of renting Saw III. I’m not going to mince words here: Saw III is awful. Really, unwatchably bad. I know, many of you may be wondering, “well, stupid, what did you expect?” Well, that makes you a film snob, but anyway I was prepared for a worst case scenario of some pretty mediocre acting and dialogue, but I'd forgotten how bad mainstream, commercial American movies can be.

That's because, in my defense, the Saw franchise has been, hitherto, not an altogether worthless one. The first film was clever, mysterious, and surprising, and had the benefit of starring the comfortably familiar Cary Elwes and Danny Glover. Even the follow-up, the sensibly titled Saw II, was fun to watch and to boot had a satisfying twist. The trilogy began with the idea of a terminal cancer patient’s revenge on a world that was so unappreciative to be alive, a biting critique of the gluttonous and spiritless American audience that ate it up, but it’s devolved into a mere excuse for a series of extravagantly grisly murders with no apparent purpose. (So violent, in fact, that during the opening scene I literally dropped my popcorn.)

Near the two hour mark—where do these DVD-era directors get off thinking they can make movies however long they feel like?—the film finally starts to become what it should’ve been, and wanted to be, all along: a parable on the virtue of forgiveness, an important message for a country hellbent on razing the Middle East in a misplaced demand for justice. Unfortunately, at that point I was too bored, exasperated, and full of “oh come now”s to buy it. Saw III wants to have its cake and eat it too, but all it winds up with is an empty plate and an empty stomach, covered in blood.

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