Monday, 29 March 2010

Jaws

I was in the mood to watch a classic yesterday. After a little gaze at the collection my gaze rested onto Jaws, where it stayed. 5 minutes later it was in my drive and I was watching two of the best films on the 70s. Yes two films, because Jaws really does split neatly into two almost standalone sections.Leftovers

Part one follows Police Chief Brodys battle to convince the town Mayor of his conviction that there is a Shark with Murry Hamiltons Mayor Vaughn brilliantly denying everything and sending the island of Amity into its largest crisis ever, you see there is a shark and it is smart. Vaughns insistence (and most of the towns traders, truth be told) leads to the beaches opening as usual. Dinnertime.The beaches WILL be open

Once the presence of the shark becomes undeniable we enter part 2 of the film which is a brilliantly detailed study in essentially a closed room. The entire second half of the film is carried by Sheider (Brody), Dreyfus (Hooper) and Shaw (Quint) holding attention brilliantly as the shark hunters. I think what sets this above the sequels is this byplay. The Shark isn't needed to maintain tension, the very relationships between our players does this.You killed my little boy

The other real winner for Jaws is the direction and music. The Jaws theme is tension incarnate and is masterfully used, only playing when the shark is actually present. The brilliantly low level and claustrophobic water shot are fantastic in execution and have been aped in many films since. The cutting also inspired, one standout scene (which can be seen in the trailer) is cut at different depths of zoom with passing bathers acting as the wipe. This is brilliantly disorientating and works to make a sunny beach menacing at an almost subconscious level.Anyone fancy a dip?

Jaws is a genuinely tense film, it doesn’t hold up well in comparisons to horror films but this does not mean that it doesn't have its collection of jumps and scares. If you have never seen Jaws there are several “jump from the chair” moments that elevate this beyond its less fraught stablemates.

If you haven’t ever seen it, or have written it off as schlock (mainly due to its increasingly dire sequels') then please Do take a look at Jaws. it is truly a fantastic film.

Paul out…and looking for a bigger boat.Gonna need a bigger boat.

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