Jaws (1975)


When a killer shark stakes a claim upon the waters around Amity Island, the local sheriff enlists the help of a grizzled shark hunter and a marine biologist to catch it before further loss of life.

Steven Spielberg’s classic monster movie is a supremely accomplished slice of popular entertainment and one of my enduring favourites. His directorial expertise shines as he perfectly manipulates the mood of the film aided by John Williams frankly perfect score. He contrasts the ferocious attacks with their broiling red stained surf and hysterical screaming with the serene peacefulness of the lapping moonlit waves from the very first scene, and uses misdirection and comic asides to engineer a tangible sense of tension as you wait for the shark to appear. Of course, the clunky mechanical beast that completely fails to recreate the grace of the real animals is easy to criticise, but for the most part Jaws’ presence is hinted at through a clever combination of first person camera work, reappearing barrels and Williams’ music inter-cut with real shark footage and it works brilliantly. The characters are also fantastic, particularly during the bonding scene when Quint intensely recounts his experience of the USS Indianapolis, and there are so many wonderfully quotable lines I could probably recite the entire film from beginning to end.

One of the select number of films that I could never tire of seeing.



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