Jaws ★★★★½

The sensational commercial success of Jaws kicks off the trend of summer blockbusters, which - in a few years - will mark the end of New Hollywood's most authorial and breaking cinema. Yet its achievement is linked precisely to the fact that Steven Spielberg uses the methods preached by New Hollywood. The film infact represents a modern and spectacular reinterpretation of some cinematographic classics of the past, starting from John Huston's Moby Dick and Alfred Hitchcok's The Birds. The strength of Spielberg's work lies precisely in his ability to propose the monster movie tradition in an extremely personal way. The movie, which has a very simple but solidly constructed plot (a great white shark haunts the waters of a small New England coastal town, collecting victims among tourists), is the ideal continuation of Duel. Even in this case, in fact, we are faced with a monster that hunts man, with the ocean instead of the desolate roads of the deep American province. As in Duel, the film speaks to us of our ancestral fears, of wild and archaic terror, of evil in itself. The monsters that Spielberg's cinema uses as a symbol, whether they are the result of a technological or natural threat, as in Duel and Jaws respectively, or of a scientific or alien threat, as later in Jurassic Park and War of the Worlds, are always totally evil. Horrible murderous creatures, without a precise identity. But Jaws also represents a fierce criticism of American capitalist society, ready even to sacrifice the life of bathers in order not to give up the proceeds brought by summer tourism. Spielberg narrates everything with great technical mastery, demonstrating in the directorial choices and in the construction of the suspense, of having treasured the great Hitchcockian lesson. The film - thanks to the director, but also to the editing of Verna Fields - is an extraordinary cinematographic engineering product, which shines in pace, and absolute control of the effects and reactions that these can provoke in the audience.

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