Plot Outline: "Saw III" is the third installment of this suspense/horror flick franchise that started low budget-ish with Danny Glover in a lead role. The theme is that someone called "Jigsaw" believes that too many of us are walking around without fully appreciating our lives.
Jigsaw's solution? Abduct people and put them into situations where they can escape, but only at great personal, usually physically painful, cost. The idea is that this will lead to enlightenment for those who might pass these "tests" and win his "games," as they will appreciate and cherish every moment of their lives, from that point on.
* engaging story
* realistic characters/acting
* very creative "games" and devices
* fantastic "twists" (no pun-intended)
* medium-sized plot holes
* occasionally mediocre acting
Each sequel of this film franchise is linked to the other installments. There's continuity, which helps to engage the viewer. On some deep, but flawed level, there's the potential that a "public service" is being performed by Jigsaw's heinous activities. The plausibility of the story, well-suspended along with our disbelief, inspires the same level of this-could-really-happen-ness that was part of the genius of the first "Scream" movie (the rest were parodies of the original).
There's an air of realism in the stories that absolutely MUST be balanced by "realistic" acting. While many now criticize "The Blair Witch Project," part of its charm and appeal lay in the fact that these unknown actors were acting... as if they weren't.
The perceptive movie-goer is aware, perhaps even on a subconscious level, that even "great" acting has a certain amount of over-acting built into it. Larger-than-life film elements have strong entertainment value.
Acting styles which are all but bereft of such showboating can ground a film so deeply in reality that its themes and purposes can be augmented or suppressed. In this case, the film's entertainment value is certainly augmented by the realism often-present in the acting of game-players, specifically.
While one needn't see every other installment in order to "get" any particular sequel, those that have been along for the entire ride benefit from a broader perspective fed by the depth of continuity and plot layering. Some of the best films are those that can be enjoyed on a level as shallow or as deep as the viewer's interest, at any given time. In other words, if you just want to see some gore, this movie delivers. Truly. But, if you want to see gory elements dipped into an actual story - one that's clearly just BEGINNING, there's that, as well.
There's depth in the character interactions which moves the film's sufferers beyond simple props and stand-ins whose presence could be filled by any warm body. Those connections matter and are fascinating to behold as well as stimulating to attempt to uncover.
Twists have been overdone in some movies from the past several years, but this is one that gets it right - repeatedly. You not only get to enjoy this movie from start-to-finish, but you also get to watch it, "again, for the first time," because plot twists give you the key to another level of viewing perspective - one that few could predict without having seen the film once before.
Yes. Damned skippy.
We went to see this on Halloween and it was JUST the right amount of insane spookiness that can have you timidly looking around corners as you walk back to your front door.
Not every sequel has 'something to say.' I'm pleased to be able to say that "Saw III" was a sequel worth making. I and my girlfriend enjoyed the HELL out of it.
If your opinion differs (or even if you agree), please feel free to share your perspective in the comments section (which may contain spoilers).