Saw (2004) Poster

(2004)

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  • A serial killer known as "Jigsaw" (Tobin Bell) has shackled two men - Adam Faulkner (Leigh Whannell) and Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) - at opposite sides of a dirty bathroom with a dead man lying between them and with no way out. They are informed that they are in the middle of a "game" and that Lawrence must kill Adam by 6:00 p.m. or Lawrence's wife Alison (Monica Potter) and daughter Diana (Makenzie Vega) will be killed. The story of how Adam and Lawrence came to be in bathroom is told in flashbacks while they try to find out why they are there and how they can escape. Meanwhile, detectives David Tapp (Danny Glover) and Steven Sing (Ken Leung) are looking for the Jigsaw Killer.

  • Saw is the first of seven films in the Saw series, conceived and written by Australian screenwriters Leigh Whannell and James Wan. It is based on a short film of the same title the two men had made previously. Based on the quality of the short film, they were granted a budget to turn it into a feature film. The other seven films in the series include Saw II (2005) (2005), Saw III (2006) (2006), Saw IV (2007) (2007), Saw V (2008) (2008), Saw VI (2009) (2009), Saw 3D (2010) (2010), and Jigsaw (2017) (2017).

  • After suffering a series of unfortunate events in his personal life, Jigsaw finds himself being forced to face his own mortality. Depressed at the situation, he tries to kill himself but survives. This gives him a new outlook on life, and he begins to savor the second chance he has earned. He feels that, like himself, there are people who take what they have for granted, people that have lost the will to survive or to change their lives for the better. It is his goal to give these people the opportunity to save themselves, so he sets up a variety of deadly traps. If the victim successfully makes their way out of their traps, they get the ultimate gift—a second chance—with (hopefully) a new outlook on life. If the victim doesn't survive their traps, he carves a single puzzle piece from the flesh of the victim, signifying that the victim was missing the piece of themselves that would have saved them: the will to live.

  • Jigsaw does not choose his victims at random. He selects only those individuals that, in his view, waste their lives in some way (drug addiction, self-harm, taking life's blessings for granted, etc). In the course of the Saw series, it becomes clear that Jigsaw knows or has met some of his victims in his personal or professional life. He also has people helping him (like Adam) who suggest victims to him. He traps his victims in a way that forces them to reflect on their sins/past actions. Jigsaw, in fact, wants the people to live. If the people truly want to survive, they have to get through the trap and earn that second chance. This typically involves having to make some kind of physical sacrifice. However, few people ever get the point and most end up dead.

  • Adam's game was simply to get out and survive. Staying inside the bathroom would mean that Dr. Gordon had to kill him by 6:00 p.m. Adam could have used the key in the bathtub to escape from the cuff, but the key went down the drain. The only other option for escape was sawing off his foot with the saw that was provided for him, though he had the misfortune of having his hacksaw shatter before he realized he was supposed to saw through his leg and not the chain.

  • Amanda's (Shawnee Smith) cell mate was Donnie Greco. He was her drug dealer. He can be seen in Saw IV exiting Jill Tuck's rehab clinic.

  • It is not explicitly revealed exactly what Zep Hindle (Michael Emerson) has done wrong to call Jigsaw's wrath upon himself, only that he was an orderly at the same hospital where Dr. Gordon works and he was an attendant to John Kramer. Dr. Gordon hints that Zep shows too little professional detachment, by forming "very special bonds with the patients". On Zep's tape, Jigsaw says "Will you murder a mother and her child to save yourself?" This may mean Zep's sin is that he is always too involved in the lives of complete strangers, neglecting his own life. He has to put his own life over the lives of two strangers in order to win the game. Screenwriters Leigh Whannell and James Wan have suggested on the audio commentary that Zep enjoys the power he has over others.

  • The deadline has come and gone, and Adam is still alive. Dr. Gordon's cellphone rings, and he hears Alison say, "You failed." Suddenly Diana begins to scream and gunshots can be heard. What Lawrence doesn't know is that Alison has attacked Zep to save herself and Diana. Diana's screams were those of fear while she watched her mother struggle with Zep. Det. Tapp, who has been watching Gordon's apartment (believing him to have ties to the Jigsaw murders) breaks into the room and attempts to capture Zep. While Tapp holds Zep at bay, Alison and Diana escape to a neighbors apartment and call the police. Zep escapes, and Tapp chases him to an abandoned warehouse. While chasing Zep through the tunnels, Zep shoots Tapp in the chest, killing him, and then runs to bathroom to kill Lawrence. Thinking his family is being harmed, Dr. Gordon goes a little mad and finally picks up the hacksaw and saws off his foot. He then takes the revolver from the corpse and shoots Adam. Zep enters the bathroom, intending to kill Lawrence, but Adam is not fatally wounded and pounds Zep to death with a toilet tank cover. Lawrence then crawls out the door, promising to get help for Adam. Adam searches Zep's body for a key to his cuffs and finds yet another tape from the Jigsaw Killer revealing that Zep wasn't the killer, but was just another pawn in the game. His game was to kill Alison and Diana if Lawrence failed to kill Adam. If he did, he would get the antidote for the poison that Jigsaw had given him. Suddenly, the corpse in the middle of the floor gets up, pulls off a mask, and reveals himself to be Dr Gordon's patient, John Kramer, the real Jigsaw Killer. In a series of flashbacks, it is shown that John Kramer was being treated by Dr Gordon for terminal brain cancer. He tells Adam that the chain's key is in the bathtub, which was drained when Adam accidentally kicked the plug out. The key that would have freed him went down the drain and, having destroyed his own hacksaw, Adam has no way out of the chains. Adam grabs Zep's pistol and tries to shoot Jigsaw but is electrocuted by his hidden remote control before he can get a shot off. Jigsaw then turns off the lights and seals Adam inside the bathroom.

  • Paul Leahy, Mark Wilson, Donnie Greco, Detective Steven Sing, and Zep Hindle. Detective David Tapp is only seen being severely injured and presumably dies of his wound. Both Dr. Lawrence Gordon and Adam's fates are left open in this film.

  • To avoid a NC-17 rating, the theatrical version had to be cut. In most countries at least one available DVD offers the uncut version which contains slightly more violence. This uncut version has been released in Germany but for this a different master was used, that uses not only different colors in some scenes but features a slightly longer cut.

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