Saw X Opening Scenes Analysed In-Depth - The Fantasy Review

Saw X Opening Scenes Analysed In-Depth

The Fantasy Review‘s “Saw X Opening Scenes Analysed In-Depth” – SPOILERS AHEAD for Saw X, so do not read this if you are yet to watch the movie.

The movie opens on John Kramer getting a cat scan. Immediately we are shown we are delving into the mind of the serial killer, further into his psyche than ever before. We see flashes of his eyes in normal light, flashes of red, and flashes of the images of the literal inside of his head, the latter overlapping with his face in normal lighting showing metaphorically the reveal of what lies behind his eyes. 

The shot of him coming out of the cat scan could be a depiction of his journey, however instead of coming out of the tunnel led by the light, the room is barely lit.  

They chose not to de-age the actor which was a good decision. Having an 80 year-old man play a 60 year-old man who is terminally ill with cancer gives more gravitas to his impending fate than any of the previous movies have.

He asks “I don’t suppose you can tell me how it looks” to the technician once he comes out, Tobin Bell giving the performance of his career just in those eyes that were both hopeful and pleading. This man desperately wants to live, and still has some hope. This hope will directly lead onto the events of this movie, as I don’t believe the Kramer of previous movies would have been fooled by the scam, no matter how great their con.

There is a beautiful shot showing the overlapping of the image of the scan machine and the SAW X title over John Kramer’s skull. We see the heart of this movie here, the thing we need to be focusing on throughout all this: Kramer’s mind is not only overrun with cancer, but his mind is also the cause of so much suffering. You could argue that the cancer is twofold: one is literal, physical; the other is psychological, giving him a God complex and twisted morality that he forces onto others.

We are introduced to Henry Kessler (Michael Beach) at the cancer support group, sowing the seeds of the con with his “stage four cancer, pancreatic”. Kramer’s face shows intense sympathy and sorrow, but also a hint of revulsion, like he hates being faced with the reality of his own impending demise through the stories of others who share this same fate.

In a consultation about the recent scan, Kramer’s doctor tells him he has months to live. The doctor says,“you know, at this stage, everyone always searches for a way out, but sometimes those who accept their fate have an easier time-”.

Kramer interjects: “Easier time, what? Dying? So your advice to me is to die easy?”

This shows the central issue in Kramer’s psychology at this time. He believes people decide their own fates, that living is a choice. It seems these rules he lives by do not and cannot be applied to him; his fate is totally out his hands. This is what leads him in an attempt to cheat death, but as anyone who has watched the Hustle TV show knows, the easiest mark for a con is someone who wants to cheat their way into being richer. In Kramer’s case, he wants to be richer in time.

This leads us onto the first “trap” of the movie. Structurally, I think the writers put this here so that the audience who were looking for gruesome traps got one in the first five minutes of the movie, keeping them engaged while the story tells a deeper tale of Kramer’s tragedy. Does this mean the trap sucks? Well, it is certainly one of the more “realistic” traps of the whole movie, and is based on the core principles of Jigsaw, unlike some traps in previous movies which are rigged by trigger-happy apprentices or even made overly tortuous by a more psychotic Jigsaw.

However, it isn’t real so we can ignore it.

However! No we can’t!

John Kramer has just been told by his doctor that he has months to live, but Kramer worries that there is still “a lot of work to be done”. It follows, then, that running into an orderly about to steal valuables from a dying (probably) patient, would bring out Kramer’s ugly side. His mind immediately goes to how he would punish such an act, even before the act has been completed. He rushes to the torture and murder of this would-be thief. Does this help calm his mind, focusing on the “work” he thinks is so important? Or does he find pleasure in imaging this person in pain, even dead, and so is soothed by the thought of committing his own crime?

This is the face of a man who believes he is the ultimate judge over morality, to the point he can even make himself believe his own morality is never in question despite the faulty philosophical arguments he bases it on. He might also be disappointed that this wasn’t a lesson he needed to teach through torture: the orderly sees Kramer at the door and puts the watch and wedding ring back in the drawer. It was fear of getting caught and losing his job that changed this man’s life decisions. Perhaps torture is not a necessary step in redemption afterall?

Related to: Saw X Opening Scenes Analysed In-Depth

Owner and Editor of The Fantasy Review. Loves all fantasy and science fiction books, graphic novels, TV and Films. Having completed a BA and MA in English Literature and Creative writing, they would like to go on to do a PhD. Favourite authors are Trudi Canavan, Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson.

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