After another viewing of this film (post "Saw V" and just before "Saw VI") I realized how much I enjoy this one. Initially, I felt this one was trying very hard to be an endgame of sorts for the franchise and focused too much on that. But after watching it for the first time at home since it was released in theaters I realize how many clues they leave for the next film - which I find fascinating in its own regard. I suggest re-watching this film after "IV" just to catch the little things that make this one worth it.
Otherwise, what we have here does play out as a sort of endgame for Jigsaw. On his makeshift deathbed, Jigsaw goes to play his final game amongst those whom deem themselves worthy of the life they live. This time he takes a father bent on vengeance and throws him through a series of 'life in his hands' situations to find if he can truly forgive those whom have wronged him and his family. Story wise, its far more subtle then the first two having more character interactions and story build for Jigsaw and his apprentice. We get to see a few hints at the rest of the story to come (my initial thought was it was the story was leaving too many red herrings and didn't explain enough...turns out it was just threading for the sequels) and on repetitive viewing I found the story to be a lot stronger then I thought at first. It's a nice touch, I think.
Again the main issues have to do with acting. A bit of the pacing falls short once again but Bousman does a better job making this one feel a bit more unique then what he did with "II". But its the acting that hurts this one...at times coming off as far too over the top (Angus Macfadyen as the father hits this mostly) and Jigsaw's apprentice seems to get worse as the film rolls on. The clever style of the "Saw" films is a little watered down on this one (mostly due to its far more character driven plot) but it works for what it has to in the end.
I found I enjoy this one more each time I watch it, and that says something to the quality I didn't catch at first. Although its a bit over the top then it could have been, the pig grinder is still somewhat awkward, I loved the subtlety of the story and its focuses. Definitely works better in conjunction with "IV" which I will be reviewing shortly.
Written By Matt Reifschneider