bulletproofQpid’s review published on Letterboxd:
"It doesn't make any sense when you pay a guy like you to watch sharks."
"Well, uh, it doesn't make much sense for a guy who hates the water to live on an island either."
"It's only an island if you look at it from the water."
"That makes a lot of sense."
Jaws is one of those Spielberg films that I think he gets right, for the most part anyway. He always seems to need to put some kids in his films to jerk at people's sentimentality and often times it winds up taking me out of what otherwise was a great story. But I've been watching the guy's stuff for long enough that I know what he's going to do to bother me, yet I keep watching it anyway, so... What do I know?
Anyway, he keeps that to a minimum here as it's only really played up for sentimentality in the scene between Chief Brody and his youngest son, Sean. Sean obviously has a pretty good idea just how fucked up his dad's day has been, despite his young age, and decides that the best way to sympathize is to mimic him at the dinner table. We've all seen little kids do it and sometimes it's funny and this time it isn't. It's clear that while he can't possibly get all the whys and wherefores, he understands that his father is deeply troubled. I mean, he hasn't had the greatest day either, sitting on the beach crying by himself while his brother, Michael, almost became fish food. It's a nice scene, even if it is a tad cloying.
Happily, the biggest part of the film takes place aboard the Orca with the three principle actors all showing some of their best work. The animosity between Shaw and Dreyfuss really adds a strong sense of competitiveness to their characters. They'll do whatever it takes to look more on top of the situation than the other. Meanwhile, Scheider's Brody can't do anything to make himself look like he has any business at all being on that boat.
Possibly Spielberg's best film, I seem to have to watch it every 4th of July...