Director; James Wan
Stars: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell & Danny Glover
Adam: My name is Very Fucking Confused; what's your name?
Film #37 of The December Project
I had been meaning to revisit the original 'Saw' film since recently purchasing 'Saw: The Video Game' (An entertaining if not highly repetitive game, and a sequel to this film). I honestly used to put this first film up on a pedestal, thinking it was psychological brilliance, but during my last viewing I realized that it was not all that, entertaining,sure, brilliant, far from it.
Two men awake in a desolate and desolate bathroom, chained to either sides of a room, with a dead body in between them. The two soon realize that this place may become their tomb, if they do not cooperate to decipher the game being orchestrated by the mysterious Jigsaw Killer.
One of the most excruciatingly irritating aspects of the 'Saw' franchise as a whole, is how it claims that Jigsaw is not actually a murderer, his victims are killing themselves, this is such a groaner. The man is obviously intending to do serious bodily harm to his victims as he places them in traps where they usually have about 1% chance of escape, to say he isn't a murderer is just intelligence insulting. This film is bombarded with lucky coincidences, things just seem to turn out just the way Jigsaw has planned them and that's another aspect of the film that constantly annoys, no man can truly plan a head this far with absolutely no margin for error.
I know for films like these, we have to meet the filmmakers half way and suspend our beliefs, but creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell betray our trust just a little too often. They almost break every rule in the book of realism in order to shock and leave us with memorable ending. The script is just not fleshed out and is just way to convenient and unbalanced to gives us a coherent story. There are so many elements and sub plots that are just skimmed over, in order to keep the audience on their toes. Example being Adam's ''Game'', how was he supposed in achieve success in this, He literally wakes up under water and the key for his ankle lock accidentally drifts down the plug hole, How in the bluest of blue hells can he win his game, was he not supposed to panic after awaking underwater ? Wan and Whannell are obviously inspired by David Fincher's brilliant psychological thriller 'Se7en' they borrow many elements from that film but end up making a far less intelligent version.
For all it gets wrong, 'Saw' can be an enjoyable and film with its moments of thrilling. For the film that started the whole 'torture porn' craze though, it is surprisingly tame, maybe I have just been numbed by seeing so much gore in so many different film. The use of physical torture is also keep to a surprising minimum, its actually mental torture that dominates most of the film, which I find to be far more effective.
I have always really liked Cary Elwes, but his performance as Dr Gordon in this film is so incredibly over the top! hes still entertaining but sometimes it just becomes all too much, maybe he was just camping it up in order to not over shadow his co star Leigh Whannell, who is the writer of the film and is pretty damn unconvincing actor throughout. Danny Glover also co stars as a cop (doesn't he always) he too is over the top but fun. Michael Emmerson is creepy and effective as is Tobin Bell, but the rest of the cast are forgettable.
For a film I used to really like, 'Saw' has almost seemingly lost all its entertainment factor to me personally. Its so flawed and coincidental that you have to be prepared for utter campiness and conveniences. Its easily the best of the series, but that isn't really saying much.