Justin Peterson’s review published on Letterboxd:
The movie that began the trend of Summer Blockbusters, and propelled the career of one of the finest filmmakers ever, Mr. Steven Spielberg.
Everything works so well in Jaws from the excellent cinematography, characters, score, and even the mechanical shark effects still look great.
Spielberg has admitted that one of the most challenging things he ever had to do while making a movie was shooting on the water, but you would not know it after watching Jaws. I love the calmness he captures on the water right before the wrath of Jaws takes over. And so much of the tensions is created by us barely seeing the shark, but knowing his presence thru John Williams legendary score. What does not get enough attention is the blood in this movie. I think seeing those big clouds of blood, and the blood splashing above the water are among most chilling moments.
Once again Spielberg's camerawork is excellent in this movie, especially during those shots at magic hour and the silhouettes created during the darker scenes. And that pull away zoom technique that he borrowed from what Hitchcock did in 'Vertigo', is so effective at emoting that sinking feeling that Roy Scheider's character must be feeling when his fears of a looming shark attack are realized.
I love the atmosphere of the second half of the movie, when they are out on the water which is so perfectly captured that you can almost smell the salt in the air as our three heroes journey out to kill the beast.
That scene when Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss are sharing stories at night on the boat, for me is the ultimate 'calm before the storm' sequence. And that excellent monologue from Shaw really works to provide insight on how his character Quint came to be a shark hunter, with this Captain Ahab like personality.
Dreyfuss' character really has a hard time holding onto things in the water ... LOL
You could see the mayor of the town as being a total dumbass for continuing to push for this big 4th of July celebration on the beaches of this resort town. But for a moment just imagine if you were one of those business owners that needed that big boom in revenue each summer, would you too turn be tempted to turn a blind eye to the rumors of the terror in the water. Personally speaking I have always been one to go into a situation hoping for the best despite possible dangers, which does not always work out.
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