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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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Anthony Grassi: Anthony’s father died when his son was only 10 years old, but the young lad inherited his father’s devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. As a schoolboy he frequented the local church of the Oratorian Fathers, joining the religious order when he was 17.
<p>Already a fine student, he soon gained a reputation in his religious community as a "walking dictionary" who quickly grasped Scripture and theology. For some time he was tormented by scruples, but they reportedly left him at the very hour he celebrated his first Mass. From that day, serenity penetrated his very being.
</p><p>In 1621, at age 29, Anthony was struck by lightning while praying in the church of the Holy House at Loreto. He was carried paralyzed from the church, expecting to die. When he recovered in a few days he realized that he had been cured of acute indigestion. His scorched clothes were donated to the Loreto church as an offering of thanks for his new gift of life.
</p><p>More important, Anthony now felt that his life belonged entirely to God. Each year thereafter he made a pilgrimage to Loreto to express his thanks.
</p><p>He also began hearing confessions, and came to be regarded as an outstanding confessor. Simple and direct, he listened carefully to penitents, said a few words and gave a penance and absolution, frequently drawing on his gift of reading consciences.
</p><p>In 1635 he was elected superior of the Fermo Oratory. He was so well regarded that he was reelected every three years until his death. He was a quiet person and a gentle superior who did not know how to be severe. At the same time he kept the Oratorian constitutions literally, encouraging the community to do likewise.
</p><p>He refused social or civic commitments and instead would go out day or night to visit the sick or dying or anyone else needing his services. As he grew older, he had a God-given awareness of the future, a gift which he frequently used to warn or to console.
</p><p>But age brought its challenges as well. He suffered the humility of having to give up his physical faculties one by one. First was his preaching, necessitated after he lost his teeth. Then he could no longer hear confessions. Finally, after a fall, he was confined to his room. The archbishop himself came each day to give him holy Communion. One of Anthony’s final acts was to reconcile two fiercely quarreling brothers.</p> American Catholic Blog God of love, as I come to the end of this Advent season, my heart is ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I join with Mary in saying, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Nothing is impossible with you, O God.

 
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