Jaws

Jaws ★★★★★

**Part of the Best Picture Project**

Unfairly lumped in with the crowd of "Blockbuster films that killed cinema" (an already half insane statement as it is). Jaws may have launched the idea of the Summer blockbuster (which you can't blame the film for finding out that you can make a lot of money when kids are out of school), but it's far from being the impersonal special effects extravaganza which people tend to refer to when talking about "those kinds of films".

In fact, Jaws is anything but. It's a rather intimate film, especially for an adventure. It's even personal on a Spielbergian level, detailing much of the themes he would explore throughout his career: familial existential relationships (Brody's need to protect his family), identity (Brody desperately trying to balance his job as small town sheriff [having previously moved from the big city] and the conflict that takes with being a father), old vs. new (Hooper vs. Quint), and the idea of self preservation vs. the collective. It's a testament that even when working on what was supposed to be nothing more than a studio job that Spielberg is still able to take this film and make it his own. The young Spielberg even still displays his visual wit, balancing technical craft (any of the suspense/adventure sequences) and personal worldview (seriously, how great is that small moment between Brody and his son?).

Rag on something like Star Wars all you want (which is also slightly misguided albeit not completely unwarranted), but no one would be complaining if every summer blockbuster was as well crafted as Jaws.

Mary Conti liked this review