Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus
MacFadyen, Bahar Soomekh, Dina Meyer
RunTime: 1 hr 53 mins
Released By: Shaw
Official Website: http://www.saw3.com
Opening Day: 30 Nov 2006
Jigsaw has disappeared.
his new apprentice Amanda (Shawnee Smith), the puppet-master
behind the cruel, intricate games that have terrified a community
and baffled police has once again eluded capture and vanished.
While city detectives scramble to locate him, Doctor Lynn
Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) is unaware that she is about to become
the latest pawn on his vicious chessboard.
night, after finishing a shift at her hospital, Lynn is kidnapped
and taken to an abandoned warehouse where she meets Jigsaw
(Tobin Bell), bedridden and on the verge of death. She is
told that she must keep the madman alive for as long as it
takes Jeff (Angus Macfayden), another of his victims, to complete
a game of his own. Racing against the ticking clock of Jigsaw's
own heartbeat, Lynn and Jeff struggle to make it through each
of their vicious tests, unaware that he has a much bigger
plan for both of them...
There’s a term in television called “jumping the
shark”. In current pop-culture jargon, it basically
signifies the precise moment in a television show’s
history when its creative well starts to run dry, leading
to the use of several over-the-top moments to compensate for
waning interest. This phrase can well be attributed to “Saw
III” and its place in the franchise. Granted, the maligned
“Saw II” was a bit of a stretch but it promised
to revitalise the original’s strained plot and it did.
Now, the latest induction underlines those inadequacies even
more saliently by tearing itself down with pretentious plot
swiveling in order to stay viable.
original’s dour atmosphere of hopelessness and mysterious
cabalism is a now fleeting, almost ignored aspect of the franchise.
It chooses exposition over ellipses, substituting frisson
for revulsion with slow-burning intensity replaced by amplified
screams and loud shrieks. The sinful glee stemming from the
ingenuity of its death-puzzles are replaced by torture-smut,
and lacks the human element of suffering and choice that was
so much a part of its pinnacle of pain, “Saw”.
(a primarily stationary Tobin Bell), the cancer-ridden psychotic
misanthrope has evaded the authorities with the help of his
young protégé in Amanda (Shawnee Smith). In
his deathbed, he still manages to construct his devious plans
of helping the depressed live life to the fullest under duress.
Unrelenting in his perverse version of a moral high ground,
Jigsaw’s newest victims play his repetitive game while
going through the motions that essentially runs from fear
to anger, with a quick stop at self-belief and finally back
to fear. While the elegance of its execution is left wanting,
the franchise has always had a running, albeit precarious
balance of gimmick and continuation. Now, a self-important
backstory complete with copious amounts of flashbacks litter
the onscreen massacre involving the utterly inconsequential
meatbag victims that nobody really cares about.
III” could have essentially been called a collaboration
of its past talents. The previous edition’s directorial
patsy, Darren Lynn Bousman comes onboard again using a script
penned by the franchise’s masterminds in James Wan (director
of “Saw”) and Leigh Whannell. And the flashy quick-fire
editing, grungy palettes and flashbacks are all reminiscent
of its franchise. But why does this feel like it was written
and directed by people who have no idea what made the original
so successful in the first place? The complex psychological
perspectives within its deceptively simple set pieces are
given the ol’ heave-ho in lieu of grandstanding contraptions
of suffering and sinister aspects of voyeurism are reduced
to meagre, superficial roles in the increasingly ritualistic
while the faltering conceit drops its veil completely at the
end, “Saw III” just can’t help itself by
reaching into undiscovered depths of implausibility to string
together its entire franchise for that expected shock ending.
Though I suspect that most audiences might just agree that
its twist within a twist within a twist denouement creates
more knots in its diegetic credibility and most of all, in
its viewer’s patience.
(Weakest instalment of the franchise,
but the blood still flows freely)
by Justin Deimen