I am writing this review on my cellphone*. Why? Well, because my computer is upstairs and I am downstairs, but I also find no evidence to believe the screenwriters of SAW IV used a real word processor, either, so it seems an appropriate fit. For a sequel so clearly phoned in, SAW IV sure is a marvel of miscommunication. It boasts the highest volume of twists and turns to date, each new development coming at the viewer with the same rapid fire, swirling incoherence as the series trademark camera work. Bousman’s latest is bloated with its own ideas trying with clamy desperation to convince the viewer every pointless revelation is masterful slight of hand on part of the genius filmmakers and not what it really is; slight of talent.
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know what in the hell happened in SAW IV. I just read the Wikipedia entry on the whole ordeal and I still don’t know what the hell went on. I am not much bothered by this, either. I understand the mechanics of it. I understand that the reach of Jigsaw’s diabolic traps exceeds even the grave. I understand Jigsaw’s mentor-like path laid out for detective Riggs. I acquiesce. But to what end? No end, because the end is the beginning. It always is. I’ve just been struck with the revelation that the whole franchise is the cinematic equivalent of a Klein bottle.
For those not obsessed with random mathematical constructs, a Klein bottle is a non-orientable surface; an object realized in two dimensions with only one side and no edges; or as some wise editor on Wikipedia states, "the Klein bottle is a two-dimensional differentiable manifold which is not orientable … meaning it is a compact manifold without boundary." It is also incapable of being embedded in Euclidean space R3, aka the third dimension. Confusing? Very.
Summed in basics, a Klein bottle is not a bottle at all. The inside is the outside and vice-versa, thus it has no inside nor does it have an outside. It cannot be created without intersecting itself, which places its capacity for volume at zero.
Layman’s terms? Shit is mad wack. A Klein bottle cannot hold anything, because as far as bottles are concerned, Klein’s is lies. This is precisely what SAW IV is. Lies. A sprawling surface of lies that intersect themselves to maintain continuity and the illusion of storage. What has happened before is of no consequence, because like that mind-fuck of a bottle, SAW IV is incapable of retaining anything. It has a volume of zero, after all. It redefines itself whenever necessary, negating previous revelations piecemeal. Even if you think you have a hold on the series’ twists and turns so far, don’t worry, because it’ll regurgitate them all come this October. At least the deception is punctual.
In theory SAW IV is incapable of having any plot holes, its leaps in logic pass through themselves until they anchor onto a new thread of bullshit, thus bypassing holes as we understand them altogether. Mayhaps I should be applauding SAW IV in this regard. This is the first entry in the series where events and characters in the script quite literally crash through the frames of the film. Bousman has adopted a new moronic tactic in the editing room by which a character can, say, plunge through a pane of glass in a derelict warehouse and into a police interrogation room. This is a means of transitioning the viewer [not the character performing the act] from one locale to the next without a dip in pace. Not only are these epileptic transitions annoying, they are the exact characteristics of the bottle just described, which I personally find to be hilarious.
I’ve told you almost nothing of the plot, which is fine, because whether you’ve seen the film or not, we are on the same page. The traps have one-upped themselves in regards to absurdity, but at least one of them is bound to make you cringe. Tobin Bell still kicks ass, yet is not enough to save the ship. The production design is still the best thing about the film. In fact, the franchise’s production designer is taking over directorial reigns for parts V and VI. That can only be a good thing, right?
* This is actually a lie. I only wrote the first two paragraphs on my phone. See how that works? I can say something at the beginning and then later go back and add an asterisk, camouflaging my lie as editorial license. I’ve just pulled a SAW IV!