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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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Martyrdom of John the Baptist: The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life? 
<p>This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation or repentance, of salvation.</p> American Catholic Blog Those who pray learn to favor and prefer God’s judgment over that of human beings. God always outdoes us in generosity and in receptivity. God is always more loving than the person who has loved you the most!

 
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