Jaws ★★★★★

You may sneer at the phrase "They don't make 'em like they used to", but sometimes even the laziest and easiest of proclamations are spot on.

When was the last time we had a giant blockbuster like Jaws where the vast majority of the audience were in agreement as to its qualities? I look down the ratings given Jaws by people on my friends list, and not a single one of them have given it below 7/10. More recently, critically acclaimed and financially phenomenal blockbusters like Inception and Looper do not fare nearly so well and there are large numbers of very vocal opponents of the reports of their quality.

Is Hollywood just not as good at pushing the buttons of almost all its audience any more or is Jaws just one of those very, very rare moments in movie-making history where everything just comes together in one almost perfect whole? It probably isn't entirely fair to pose these questions when attached to a review of Jaws, one of the few films in history that has garnered almost universal praise from critics and audiences as well as raking in box office takings that were completely insane, not to mention finding a place in pop culture that few other films, if any, can ascend.

The fact that I pose these questions with Jaws, however, is perhaps proof in itself that it could be THE greatest achievement in Hollywood filmmaking. It's the moment and film where everything seemed to align to create cinema history that still stands up, 37 years on, as almost completely untouched by anything else.

The film itself is one I remember first seeing as a 6 year old, cowering away whenever anyone was in immediate danger, marvelling at being able to watch a film where a leg floats to the bottom of the sea, getting my mum to walk in the way of the telly when Robert Shaw gets in a spot of bother towards the end. I'm quite sure I had watched it before then, though, I seem to remember knowing when certain things were going to happen.

Especially the bit in Ben Gardner's boat. But knowing that's going to happen still won't stop it from making me jump the next time I watch it, probably for about the 50th time. Is there anything this film cannot do?

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🇵🇱 Steve G liked these reviews