Biscoito18’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Jaws” is deservedly considered one of the greatest classics of cinema and presents one of the best opening scenes of a horror movie of all time. A scene so well crafted and striking that alone would justify the fame of the film.
The first rays of sunlight begin to illuminate the beach when the beautiful and not-so-innocent Chrissie Watkins dives naked, into the still dark waters of the sea, never to return in one piece.
The shark, which remains hidden by the water, drags Chrissie as if she were already just a corpse since the first bite, totally incapable of reacting to the force of the attack.
An interesting detail is that the sequence was filmed during the day and then turned into night with the decrease in brightness and contrast to be released in theaters because of the nudity. In addition, Chrissie's (the stuntwoman Susan Backlinie) screams and sounds swallowing water were made in a recording studio to have higher quality. People say she held her head upside down and then poured water down her throat to record the chocking sounds. In addition, it’s also Susan's idea to begin praying desperately after realizing that she was going to die.
“Jaws” goes further and delivers a story that reaches for a realistic simplicity with charismatic characters, a well-built social structure, a broad analysis of the social impact of tragedy that develops good arguments to justify the plot's choices. In other words, in this movie the characters have brains and the city has life.
The film doesn’t need excessive blood to give chills, as in the scene that Chief Brody (Rob Scheider) finds the remains of Chrissie’s body covered by small crabs. I’ve never forgotten this scene and how horrified I was with the banalization of the human body reduced only to a piece of carrion, rotten and shattered as if it were just the remnant of an animal carcass thrown away.
When Brody is slapped by the mother of a boy eaten by the shark (in another brutal scene where the child disappears in a whirlwind of water and blood), we feel his shame and disappointment with himself. When Quint (Robert Shaw in a spectacular performance) tells his famous and disturbing monologue about the death of his comrades, the expressions of pure horror on the faces of Brody and Matt (Richard Dreyfuss) are a mirror of our own expressions.
I hate when people say that Spielberg was lucky or that his idea of filming through the shark's eyes was pure "luck." The correct name is CREATIVITY. Another person could’ve simply used a series of quick cuts, zooms and liters of fake blood to create a ridiculous attack scene and leave it at that (as they unfortunately did in the sequels). Spielberg preferred the hard way. If he couldn’t show horror to people, he decided to create horror using their imaginations.
Perhaps this was the lesson that "Bruce", the most troublesome animatronic shark ever, wanted to give Spielberg by refusing to cooperate. It knew that his creator was capable of something greater.
Bruce, named by the film crew members in reference to Spielberg's lawyer named Bruce Raynor, also has its few appearances valued by the mystery, like when it comes up trying to bite Brody's hand. But there is another excellent jumpscare in the film when Matt is surprised by a disfigured corpse as he examines the wreckage of a boat sank by Bruce. I forgot about this jumpscare when I was rewatching and almost screamed at the time.
In the third act, Jaws transforms all its atmosphere into something minimalist, apart from the rest of the film, to convey, to those who watch, the sense of detachment from the rest of the world that the characters are feeling. The experience becomes much more intimate, the characters open their hearts and you feel like a fourth member of ORCA's crew, Quint's old boat.
There’s an intelligent plan with well defined steps and options. The death that happens really shocks you because it’s one of yours that is going and the final shot is iconic, extremely well filmed and seems logical, invoking more skill than luck.
”Jaws” isn’t only the first blockbuster made, it’s also the first "blockbuster with heart". A lesson on how to make cinema, dribbling the difficulties with creativity, without abandoning the focus on the details. Pure passion for the art of constructing sensations that will never leave the memory of those who watch.
10/10 – MASTERPIECE