Saw

Not recommended. It was a very creative approach with a story that takes place mostly in a single room, with lots of good twists and very good visuals. But it fails on a moral level. It’s the story of two guys who have been chained into a room and can only get out by killing the other guy or dying in the process, as the place is boobytrapped. And then we discover that the people who this is done to, have dark secrets. It’s in a genre of killer movies where the killer makes a moral point to the audience. Now, I like that as a genre. Movies like Seven and Collateral (morality without God leads to evil) and Phone Booth (the true nature of sins and repentance) are great moral fables, but this movie falls short in that it fails to portray the victims as truly worthy of their suffering. Oh, it tries to make them worthy, but it doesn’t work. First of all, the hero is supposed to be a doctor who is too busy for his family and addresses sick people as objects with diseases. Well, okay, this is a slight character flaw, but certainly not deserving of being tortured so, as the killer says, he should stop taking life for granted. What kind of a stupid motive is that for a killer? I want you to appreciate life more in the face of death. Well, that is a good artistic motive, but it doesn’t work for a killer. Okay, then the photographer who follows the doctor is supposed to be bad cause he is snooping on the doctor. So that’s supposed to be worthy of death? And then, the other people who were killed, one was a drug addict, and another, a couch potato. Se7en did this theme right because the people killed were extremes of the seven deadly sins, which DID make the point that sin is serious. And Phone Booth worked because the revelation of the hero was that he really was a lying conniving cheater and manipulator that successfully hid his true personality from others and the audience. So the revelation of his character may not have deserved death (like a twisted serial killer believes), but it illustrated the true seriousness of his sins. That effect simply does not occur in Saw because the victims seem too average and their sins are not explored to show the true negative effects on other’s people’s lives. This is true especially of the hero, who is tempted to engage in adultery, but when he gets to the hotel room, he doesn’t do it! That moral triumph makes the hero look good, not bad, and therefore unworthy of the “punishment” that the killer puts him through. Fatal Attraction did it right because it had the hero follow through on his adultery from a character flaw, but then he rises over that flaw through love and a wife who is a good shot with a gun. The power of the movies like Fatal Attraction, Phone Booth, and Se7en is that they reveal true guilt in the hero that requires redemption, and that’s what makes the morality of those movies so good, true and beautiful. When the killer “wins” at the end of Se7en, we think that we should fight evil in the world, and that we should not ignore the religious idea of sin and guilt or society will become more evil. When the killer gets away at the end of Phone Booth, we conclude that Satan is always out there prowling like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, so we had better get our lives together and stop deceiving ourselves about our own goodness and repent from our sin. When the killer gets away in the end of Saw it is not to make a moral point, but rather to show that evil wins and average people die without purpose. Like I said, nihilistic trash.

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