Saw (2004)   Leave a comment


Phew.  I finally watched SAW and I’m worn out.

Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Adam Faulkner-Stanheight (Leigh Whannell) wake up in a filthy men’s room chained to pipes on opposite ends of it.  There’s a dead man on the floor between them with a gun in his hand and his brains on the floor.  They’re told, through a tape recording, they must play the killer’s game or die.  For the next intense hour and a half, the two try figure out why they’ve been kidnapped and how to escape.  Each man recounts the events leading up to his capture in the hopes that it might shed light on the reasons behind it.  Perhaps knowing why might help them survive.


“I’ll never come to this restaurant again.”

James Wan directs SAW using sets he could easily have borrowed from a David Fincher film.  The grim, industrial spaces add to the creepy otherness of the film.  Music by Charlie Clouser, Pitbull Daycare, Front Line Assembly, and Fear Factory sounds like Angelo Badalamenti and Trent Reznor had a baby soundtrack.  The desperate mood and slowly building tension punctuated by stabs of violence keep your heart pounding.  I like that.



While the two men in the nasty john flash back to their lives pre-toilet, we get to see an intricate story unfold and it’s terrific.  A series of weird deaths prompt police to search for a twisted killer who likes to watch his victims torture themselves before they die in ghastly ways.


“I’m just misunderstood.”

During the course of the investigation, Detectives Tapp and Sing (Danny Glover and Ken Leung) investigate Dr. Gordon.  Is he the murderer?  After the pair of cops run into a bit of a snag at the killer’s lair, Tapp continues with the case on his own hiring Adam to photograph the doctor.  Is Adam the one?  The lives and deeds of the characters intersect and our torturer plays each person like a violin.


“I’m getting too old for this shit.”

SAW is a serial killer/torture/crime/morality film and it’s a good one.  James Wan and Leigh Whannell co-wrote the screenplay and it’s pretty tight.  Supporting cast members Shawnee Smith, Monica Potter, Michael Emerson and Tobin Bell, who’s scary good, all add to the intertwining tale.  I’m happy I saw this one.


This guy.



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