This may be a controversial choice on account of the series decline in quality following on from the second film, but I legitimately find the first two installment as interesting and gripping movies.
Directed by James Wann, Saw tells the story of two men who wake to discover that they have been abducted by a serial killer known as Jigsaw who tests his victims by making them suffer through horrendous traps and challenges, chained up in a abandoned bathroom with only a dull saw as there means of escape the two men must consider self mutilation if they hope to survive.
The time line through out the movie is scattered relying heavily upon flashbacks in order to drive the plot forward, this works well creating a multi-narrative effect in which the investigation into the killer is shown from the various perspectives of the characters involved with the investigation and the impact that contact with the killer has on their lives.
The main narrative follows the two potential victims Adam Stanheight (Leigh Whannell) and Dr.Lawrence Gordon(Cary Elwes) trapped in the disused bathroom with the flashbacks being used as they attempted to piece together the events that lead up to their abduction.
With much of the narrative following Dr. Gordon most of the information gained through interviews and experiences which is odd considering just how three dimensional the killer appears despite the audience only ever witnessing the aftermath of his crimes (or when they are occurring Jigsaw is no where to be seen, being replaced by a creepy doll) this leads to actual surprise when the identity of the killer is finally revealed.
While the police side of the investigation is viewed through the perspective of Detective David Tapp ( brilliantly characterized by Danny Glover) who's life is so servery damaged by the investigation and his search for answers that he becomes obsessed with uncovering the identity of the killer to the point of neglecting his own health, in a great portrayal of how great a grip obsession can have on the mind
In performing research for this review (and I do perform research) I believe that I stumbled upon the reason why it is I hold the first to Saw film's in such high regard but consider the following sequels to complete and utter trash and this is because of a shift in perspective between the movies with Saw 1 and 2 being character driven stories following the exploits of individuals as they are drawn into the mad world of a serial killer, while THIS is not the case beyond the second movie as the story becomes "trap driven". With the traps become more and more elaborate to the point at which the victims almost have to die in order for the audience to witness the effect of the trap on the victim, leading the movies to become less stories and more of the embodiment or the torture porn genre that everyone makes them out to be.
But this is not the case with Saw, it is a dark and gritty tale of the impact that one man can have of the lives of countless others and respectable movie comparable to even "Seven".