Updated: Jun 18
*This article is going to contain spoilers for Spiral: Book of Saw which is currently out in theaters and the time of this publication.
Contributor Curtis M. Brown II, HNIC Editor-at-large
I know a lot of people complain when they feel like politics are being shoe-horned into their favorite types of media. However, historically art and sports have always been utilized by the oppressed and the oppressors as a means of getting their messages out to the public. From as early as the gladiator games, to Captain America comics, and as recent as episodes of Black-ish talking about Juneteenth and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, politics have always been there. If you haven’t been paying attention that’s your business but what really burns my ass is when an artist has the perfect opportunity to say something important but chooses not to.
Overall, I like the Saw series (except Jigsaw for obvious reasons). It’s just clever enough to keep me interested in the characters and the movies are short enough that I can binge watch them fairly easily. The traps are horrifyingly complex but there’s not too much gore that I don’t get grossed out and turn it off. I’m not saying the Saw franchise needed to add political undertones to it’s already muddy plot but Spiral so very nearly hit the bullseye that I can’t help but be mad.
In this newest addition to the Jigsaw Saga, we meet Detective Zeke Banks (Chris Rock) who is an outcast in his police precinct because he turned in a fellow officer for murdering a witness to a crime another cop committed. He refuses to work with the other detectives because he can’t trust anyone to have his back after catching a bullet when his fellow boys in blue fail to come to his aid while pursuing a suspect. The newest Game Master of this series is looking to punish the corrupt cops and reform the system from the inside out.
Do… do you see what I’m getting at now?!
Almost every week, we’re inundated with images of cops murdering the citizens they’re supposed to protect with minimal consequence. We scream, march and demand accountability but the fact remains that the “thin blue line” that cops walk protects these thugs with badges and anyone who dares step outside of that is punished beyond measure. Barely over a month ago, Cariol Horne finally won her 14 year fight against the city of Buffalo for being unfairly dismissed for trying to stop a fellow officer from almost killing a man using a chokehold. In 2016, former police officer Stephen Mader was fired for NOT shooting a black suspect who, while armed, did not pose an immediate threat to the officer.
Just last year right in my own city, former officer Bryan Turner filed a lawsuit alleging he faced a hostile work environment after publicly supporting Black Lives Matter activists in 2017. He was terminated after being brought up on charges of theft by deception, obstructing justice, unsworn falsifying, and official oppression. He was cleared of all charges in 2019.
I won’t belabor the point any further except to say that “Blue Lives” don’t fucking exist and the fact that cops are literally fired for stopping other cops from wrongdoing is absolutely INSANE. In Spiral we have a black lead being ostracized by his peers for being a good man in the face of overwhelming toxicity. The Jigsaw copycat comes in and starts killing people who either perpetrated crimes or protected those who did and I’m not supposed to be on his side? It couldn’t be more on the nose than KingCurtLive’s new piercing.
The whole movie didn’t need to be a sermon on defunding the police but how powerful would the image of a blood-soaked blue lives flag have been? Just that little nod to the reality of the world outside of Saw would have been enough.
Meet me back here on my blog for more movie reviews and don’t forget to follow Head Nerds in Charge on all platforms and you can follow me @TeffyWonder on Instagram!