From the Maw of the Reaper Came: “Carpe Diem!”

Thoughts of life and death linger on my mind at this time; exposing oneself to art emphasising these opposites and the struggle and synergy between them tends to bring on such thoughts….

The horror flick Saw 2 really impressed and entertained me; the thing most striking about it is that, for all the blood, gore, sadism and death portrayed on-screen, it comes across as a (perversely) life-affirming piece of cinema! When the antagonist Jigsaw’s motivations fall under the microscope it becomes clear that the floors of his inferno are laced with good intentions – to snap the walking zombies, the living carcasses of life out of their walking stupors and into defining the value of their lives. The prospect of impending death gives the characters the drive and impetuous they lacked in their day-to-day lives (not that it did much of them much good, but hey). Jigsaw – sadistic agent of death or perverse promoter of life? Watch the film and draw your own conclusion….

Also in my weekend viewing back catalogue was the finale of the HBO series Six Feet Under which managed to evoke a kaleidoscope of feeling within me as I watched all the open ends sealing up.The scene between Claire and her mum played out brilliantly; a surprise overturning of the usual self-sacrificial shtick you’d get in such situations – on the part of the sacrificee, no less! Well-acted and well-directed, the whole extended episode – for all the series’ centring on death – seemed to conceal a great gaping neon sign blaring: “LIVE!!!” (essentially uttered throughout by a deceased (main) character). Uplifting and poignant by turns, the episode possessed the sweeping scope that should underpin any ‘finale’ episode. The end sequence – Claire driving forward to the future, interlaced with the fates of the Fishers playing out before our eyes – really drives home the sense of ‘mono no aware’ permeating through the episode.

As I said earlier, watching this final episode really riled up an emotional onslaught within me (nope – no tears, thanks for asking). It also kickstarted a kinetic chain of thoughts. What will this life consist of from now to my last breath? Where will I go? Will I learn to fully affirm the life I profess to cherish? Will I shuffle of my mortal coil knowing I gave it the best damn shot I could, hitting the target with maximum impact?

One thing’s certain – I don’t want to come to an end in the same tragicomic circumstances many a character did at the beginning of each episode previous!

Ever had one of those days where you’ve wanted to embrace everyone who matters to you and tell them how much they do?

It seems even a semi-stoic cyborg like me is not immune to such occasions….

Carpe diem, indeed!


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3 Responses to From the Maw of the Reaper Came: “Carpe Diem!”

  1. jsangspar says:

    I just saw the first Saw, and kind of hated it. It’s not life-affirming if it’s clear – which it is – that his games aren’t meant to be won!

    • ubermensch says:

      1: Jigsaw’s games arent meant to be won or lost. Theyre meant to be winnABLE, near impossible but technically winnable, on rare condition that the ‘player’ truly loves life so desperately that he can force himself to endure and beat these hellish near-impossibilities in order to keep living.
      “How much do you value your life on earth, anyway?”
      2: Even if the games are meant to be truly unwinnable, the message need not be for the victims alone, but perchance also for the “audience” of a mass society fixated by the images of his murders. leave a ‘message’ for the whole world, such as what was intended by the killer in “se7en” (an incredibly similar killer and film, so much so that its impossible to not compare the two)

  2. ubermensch says:

    saw II
    does it significantly add to jigsaw’s story-arc / character / ideology, or is it basically a repeat of the first film?
    I’m hard pressed to imagine a continuation in jigsaw’s escapades really doing all that much for him or his point, nor does it seem like there’s really all that much more you can do with Jigsaw, period. I’m hard pressed to avoid imagining that it would be like making a sequel to “se7en” — Jigsaw, like John Doe, seems to have gotten his message across quite completely in only one movie and it seems like a sequel would be redundant.
    But from your review, I would guess this is not the case? (If you can answer this question without spoilers, please do)

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