Howdy friends. Ya know, sometimes in this crazy topsey turvey nutty as a fruitcake rubber room of a world things just get a little hazy. You lose perspective. You thought you had it all figured out, but then it seems life slaps you up-side the head with a big old fish and knocks your goofy behind right into the canal. Know what I mean? Yeah, sure you do. Well, when I came up with the idea to review some movies last Halloween I asked ya'll for some suggestions. And by gosh and by gum you came through! Well, one of you did. Double D suggested a little film he and his wife (who by the way is beautiful, smart, funny and always right) had seen recently and thought that it would be right up BigRuta's alley. Correctamundo! Thanks for the help folks! Because, sometimes we all need a little help making up our minds. That's the idea behind tonight's movie.
Lions Gate Films, 2004, 100 minutes, R
actors: Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter
writer / director: James Wan, co-writer: Leigh Whannell
Taxonomy: philosophical serial killer flick.
A serial killer nicknamed Jigsaw kidnaps people and subjects them to life-or-death puzzles.
Bluntly: If you start to watch this movie, you will be hooked!
Okay, this is going to be a difficult write-up. Ya see friends and neighbors, Saw is definitely one of those movies that I want you to see! To that end, I cannot tell you too much of what happens or give away the fun. And trust me, this flick has lots 'o fun! Sick and twisted fun, but fun just the same. So, let's see...
Let's start with the characters. There are really only four characters in the film. Adam (Leigh Whannell), Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes), Detective David Tapp (Danny Glover) and Jigsaw (not tellin'!). Now, there are plenty of other people in the film, but these four are the ones that the story revolves around.
Just to draw you in... The film starts with Adam waking up in a full bathtub. Once he catches his breath, he notices that he is in a dark room and seems to be chained to the wall. The lights come on and he meets Lawrence, who is also chained to the wall. The two men are in a very dirty and rundown bathroom with something gruesome on the floor. Neither of them knows how they got there. Soon Adam finds a microcassette tape in his pocket labeled 'play me'. There is a microcasette player in the room and when the tape is played they hear a deep voiced man say hello to them - by name - and inform them that they are going to play a game. The man on the tape (Jigsaw) tells them that there are "clues all around you" and that "x marks the spot." Lawrence finds a microcasette tape, a key and a bullet. The key does not free either him or Adam. Jigsaw tells Lawrence that he has until 6 o'clock to kill Adam or his wife and child will die. "Let the game begin."
As the film progresses, we find out that Jigsaw really likes to play these kinds of games. He has done so several times. He finds someone that he feels is flawed and does not seem to appreciate life as much as one should. He then places that person into a situation where they have a limited amount of time to prove that they deserve to live. If they win the game, they go free. If they lose, they die. Only one person has ever won one of Jigsaw's games. She is a junkie. After Jigsaw nabs her, she awakens to find herself in a room with a body and a rather strange contraption on her head. Jigsaw describes this device as a "bear trap in reverse" and shows her a video of what happens when the built-in timer reaches zero. A plaster bust with the contraption on it virtually explodes when the thing springs open! All she has to do is get the key and unlock the contraption to get it off her head before time runs out. The key? Oh yeah, one little problem; the key is inside the stomach of the dead man on the floor. Well, she crys, but goes over to the body with a scalpel. Jigsaw did say the guy was dead, right?
Afterwards the woman - now clean - will not help the police try to find Jigsaw because, "He helped me."
Detective David Tapp is the cop obsessed with busting Jigsaw. He and his partner come close, but Jigsaw gets away - and Tapp's partner dies. This send's Tapp over the edge. He becomes consumed with rage and the desire to find and punish Jigsaw. Tapp is also convinced he knows Jigsaw's identity ( not tellin'!).
Well, that's it - that's all I'm gonna tell ya! That should be enough to make you want to see this flick, but let's do the rundown...
Babeage: Well, Monica Potter - as Lawrence's wife Allison, Dina Meyer - as Kerry (a cop), Shawnee Smith - as Amanda (the junkie) and Alexandra Bokyun Chun - as a cute little Asian woman who has an undefined relationship with Lawrence are all attractive, but the mood of the movie is not conductive to fantasy!
Sleazeploitation: Nope. Saw does not need this crutch! Although, some of the sets are kind of gross.
Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: Jigsaw - certainly, but the other main characters have their flaws too!
Violence: Yep! Jigsaw's games, some gun play and one very desperate act by one of the main characters!
Gore and FX: Saw does well in this category - get it? Nevermind. There is blood and a little tiny bit o' guts, but mostly the yucky stuff is not seen. The film is directed in a way that makes the pictures in your head much worse than what is shown on the screen. I like that. During Jigsaw's games, the film is speeded up, almost like stop motion to convey the victims' panic. Very good!
Adam: "I went to bed in my shithole apartment and I woke up in an actual shithole." "This is the most fun I've had without lubricant."
Lawrence: "Did you find anything?"
Adam - after searching the inside of the toilet - : "No solids."
Det. David Tapp: "At least we'll have the cover of darkness."
Tapp's Partner: "So will everyone else."
Zep Hindle: "It's the rules." Zep who!? He he he! Not tellin'!
There are other great lines, but they would be spoilers. Sorry. Bwahhahaha!
Moral: Experience is the best teacher.
I was pleasantly surprised by Saw. It is a tight, scary, sick and thoughtful thriller. The acting, direction and cinematography are all top notch. It grabs you from the very start and takes you for a great ride! I personally thought that Jigsaw's escape from Tapp and his partner was kind of comic bookish (not to mention Jigsaw's little whine-fest), but other than that Saw works well.
Something happened when I watched Saw. I made a prediction soon after the movie started, but was so engrossed by the unfolding story that I forgot it. Then at the end of the film - BINGO! - I was right! Now, my plot predictions often come true - I'm fairly good at this stuff. The cool thing was that the film had so sucked me in that by the time my prediction came true, it came as a surprise! I was jolted just as if I had not made the prediction! I gasped and laughed at the same time! That moment is something I will remember every time I think of Saw.
Cool flick. See it!
So, what beer do you drink with a movie as dark as Saw? A stout perhaps? That would work, but I thought I would counterbalance the mood of the film with the beer.
Lindemans Cassis Lambic (Belgian Currant Ale)
Lindemans Brouwerij, Vlezenbeek, Belgium
Okay, remember about lambics? Quick review: Lambics are based on wheat ale, spontaneous natural fermentation from natural strains of yeast (like whatever is floating around in the air), gentle aging and often incorporating fruit and a secondary fermentation. Remember I said that lambics tend to have a cider-like taste.
Lindemans Cassis Lambic is all of the above, but the currants give it a character all its own.
ABV: 4.00%, IBU: very low
Color: Deep, bright ruby red, almost purple. Somewhere between cranberry juice and merlot.
Currants make themselves known right away in the aroma. The currant scent is kind of like a combination of cranberries and blueberries. I also detected the cider notes of a traditional light lambic. The aroma is very pleasing, not overly strong or syrupy.
Semi-persistent small bubbled pink head. Yes I said pink. If you are not secure in your manhood, you may not want to let your football buddies see you drink this stuff!
Very good! The taste starts out sweet - but not overpowering - and transitions to a very pleasant tartness. The tartness is not as strong as cranberries, but it makes an impression. The crisp cider character also comes through. The finish is clean with only a bit of a fruity tart aftertaste. There is no hop bitterness at all.
Lindemans Cassis Lambic is a refreshing and enjoyable brew. Like Lindemans Peche Lambic, the bottle has both a cap and a cork. Good thing too - when something tastes this good, you don't want to take any chances!
Give Lindemans Cassis Lambic a try - you may find you like a little pink head.
Lindemans 2 for 2!
Till next time remember: Life is too short to drink bad beer!