Jaws ★★★★★

Okay, so we drink to our legs!

An aspect of film that I don't really think about so much is blocking, which I think comes from how I still feel like a novice in terms of knowing the actual full inner workings of film technique. Great shots in film don't just come from everything being in their right place to look good, the best shots are ones that convey emotion and narrative through those shots. Directors I know who are often praised for their blocking are Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, and Yasujiro Ozu. For the little that I know of how it works and "should" be done, on this viewing, Jaws sits next to 12 Angry Men as the strongest utilization of blocking I can think of. It's not just because it's obvious, it's that even a schmuck like me can look at it and be like "Oh, that's brilliant." with how countless shots of this feature Brody, Hooper, Quint, and the other inhabitants of Amity Island always being in the ideal place they should be. I think specifically of the introduction of Quint, where the crowded heads of the village meeting perfectly part and then subtly sway, the camera moving closer to Quint as he gives his little chalkboard spiel. In a sea of people, he commands the room, and all eyes, ours included, are guided to him. No real need to sugarcoat the fact that Spielberg alongside being the definitive "popcorn movie" king somehow occasionally feels underrated as one of the greatest directors in the medium. What could have been a routine if not too schlocky genre film becomes through compelling character drama and meticulous chills and thrills not just arguably the best horror film ever made, it's very well just the greatest film of all-time. At this rate, it's also routine for me to watch this on or around July 4th. As I believe I noted in my first review on here for the film, Jaws is in equal parts the best and worst of America on display, whether through the persistence of the individual in unprecedented circumstances or the greed and desire for everything to just "be fine" trumping common sense if not outright furthering risk and total disaster. Almost fifty years after its initial release, Jaws hasn't lost its bite, it only clamps down more.


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