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Jaws (1975)

R.I.P. Bruce — Written by vepro on 13.01.2012

Steven Spielberg's “Jaws” is truly a groundbreaking movie in every aspect of the word.
I watched it last night for at least thirtieth time and was again amazed how great and fresh the movie is.
It changed a lot in terms of marketing and movie distribution as well as in the thriller – suspense genre. And a lot of it came from malfunctioning equipment and compensating the original ideas, but for the best.

Alongside “Duel”, “Jaws” is my favorite Spielberg movie because it shows what film making is all about. Great character development through the entire movie, great acting and great story – telling accompanied with brilliant usage of camera makes this movie unforgettable in cinema history, while Bruce makes you remember it all so clearly if you swam further from the shore than you planned on some drunken summer night. Character of Quint is great and it truly resembles captain Ahab in his obsession and devotion to catch this man – eating monster against the odds and capabilities of his fellows on board of “Orca”. I usually don’t like it in other movies, but he also functions as a comic relief in stressful situations even though he is this grumpy old man with a lot of fisherman stories in his bones. He is for me the strongest character in this movie alongside Schneider’s great chief Brody. What I also consider very good in this movie is the portrayal of human nature when it comes to decisions which include money and human lives on the opposite sides on the scale of interest, and the hypocrisy of provincials towards “outsiders”.

Some jump scenes and overall suspense make this movie a true horror flick but what you recall most is the simple but terrifying score by John Williams which precedes every shark attack. The absence of shark footage, due mentioned mechanical failures, contribute also to chilling atmosphere, because what you can’t see is always more scary than what’s in front of you. One thing I would change in this movie is the all too well l known happy ending, well at least for the majority of characters, so deeply rooted in the Hollywood blockbuster horror tradition.

For this movie to have full effect I recommend to postpone viewing at least until June.

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