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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Saw 3-D

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

If memory serves, it was the editors of Mad magazine who coined the expression "Yecch!" Whoever armed us with that handy exclamation, it certainly springs to mind while meditating—if one must—on the repellant "Saw" franchise that began in 2004.

True to form, as directed by Kevin Greutert, "Saw 3-D" (Lionsgate), the seventh of these misuses of celluloid, turns out to be nothing more than gruesome, dehumanizing and—despite its title—very much one-dimensional torture porn. But even saying so seems as redundant, by now, as this unwelcome sequel itself.

Yet again, agony awaits—for characters and audiences alike—as ex-police Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) carries on the twisted work of the late, unlamented Jigsaw (Tobin Bell, who puts in a cameo via video and flashbacks).

For those who may have been mercifully spared this flick's predecessors, this agony involves subjecting a series of victims to a series of sadistic life-or-death games. Here, victims include racist skinheads, an assortment of ordinary folk and, most prominently, self-proclaimed Jigsaw survivor Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery).

The nastiness is interspersed with boredom and punctuated by feeble attempts to make Jigsaw and Hoffman's circus of dismemberment mean something. If their heinous high jinks signify anything at all, though, it's simply this: that we live in a society where people will pay $12 of their presumably hard-earned cash and devote 91 minutes of their all-too-brief earthly lives to watching innards flying at them off a movie screen.

The film contains pervasive gory violence, with multiple scenes of torture, mutilation and disembowelment, a few uses of profanity and relentless rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.




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Joan of Arc: 
		<p>Burned at the stake as a heretic after a politically-motivated trial, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.</p>
		<p>Born of a fairly well-to-do peasant couple in Domremy-Greux (southeast of Paris), Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Sts. Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch.</p>
		<p>During the Hundred Years War, she led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes. This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429. Captured near Compiegne the following year, she was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. Professors at the University of Paris supported Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvis, the judge at her trial; Cardinal Henry Beaufort of Winchester, England, participated in the questioning of Joan in prison. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men's clothes. The English resented France's military success–to which Joan contributed. </p>
		<p>On this day in 1431, she was burned at the stake in Rouen, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second Church trial 25 years later nullified the earlier verdict, which was reached under political pressure.</p>
		<p>Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Theologian George Tavard writes that her life "offers a perfect example of the conjunction of contemplation and action" because her spiritual insight is that there should be a "unity of heaven and earth."</p>
		<p>Joan of Arc has been the subject of many books, plays, operas, and movies. </p>
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