Saw VI Kevin Greutert

Saw VI Kevin Greutert
At its core, the Saw franchise takes a nihilist spin on discovering personal enlightenment through the intense, and embarrassingly literal and glib, application of annihilation anxiety. The idea is that one cannot appreciate their life, or the lives of others, without confronting mortal limitations and defining one's identity without pat, external ideologues. Of course, while present in the initial outing, these humanizing inclinations all but disappeared in the Bousman and Hackl outings, which found preoccupation in the simplicity of plot devices and convoluted exposition, when not perversely and voyeuristically documenting bodily mutilation in a distorted, porn-like manner. Part VI isn't entirely free from these boyish cruxes, featuring one of the grislier opening puzzles and plodding through a lot of dry explanation, but it's a leap in the right direction, having more purpose and ire than the last four films combined, which is only to say that it isn't terrible. With Detective Strahm meeting his gruesome demise at the end of part V, this entry finds Jigsaw protégé Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) doing his best to frame his co-worker for the murders, despite Agent Perez's (Athena Karkanis) suspicions otherwise. Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and Amanda (Shawnee Smith) are back for some flashbacks with Hoffman in an effort to fill in any remaining plot holes and blanks left in the previous films. Meanwhile, the central "game" features William Easton (Peter Outerbridge), a health insurance suit that brazenly denies medical claims for arbitrary reasons, leaving the seriously ill without a prayer of survival. Cleverly, his tests involve deciding which of his employees are worthy of life, while making his way through the familiar industrial maze. Although the same clumsy, amateurish direction and desultory kill scene stylizations plague this film like those preceding, the tension comes from the situations and their logicality rather than gratuitous gore and shock. In fact, aside from the opening scene and a little climactic indulgence, most of the blood is more incidental than pivotal. Sure, none of this makes a "good" film, but it does make one that isn't insulting and offensive to both the senses and the intellect, which is at least something. Included with the DVD are two separate commentary tracks with the producers and filmmakers that are quite informative, along with supplements on the maze, the traps and Jigsaw. Also included are music videos, a preview of the videogame, trailers and, with the Blu-Ray, a copy of the original film. All in all, it's a good haul. (Maple)