What can you really say about the first blockbuster and one of the greatest movies of all time? Well, its good. Really good.
Jaws (1975) is a drama/thriller directed by the great Steven Spielberg. It stars Roy Scheider as Brody, police chief of the small island community of Amity at the time when a massive great white shark begins to terrorise its beaches. Teaming up with Marine Biologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw), the trio sets out to kill the massive creature before it kills again.
There really isn’t much to say about Jaws except for how good it really is. The film has aged incredibly well. Its paced perfectly, still just as tense, and preys on our primal fear of the unknown (and sharks themselves) just as well for modern audiences as it did way back in 1975. Ok, yes, the shark puppet hasn’t age incredibly, but you see it so scantly that its barely worth mentioning. On top of that, the film possesses a level of tension that would have made Hitchcock proud. Spielberg does such an incredible job constructing the film incredibly well without drawing attention to his directing – the long takes, clever cuts and subtle techniques are so hidden and clever that many audience members are unlikely to pick up on them on the first viewing, which shows real restraint and talent on Spielberg’s end.
The performances are all just as good as the film itself. Roy Schieder’s Brody, Richard Dreyfuss’ Hooper and Robert Shaw’s Quint are all distinct, fleshed out and interesting in their own right. Quint may get the short end of the screen-time, but never feels flat next the rest of the leads, with Shaw’s rough demeanour and grizzled beard always keeping the character interesting. Dreyfuss’ Hooper is also just as fleshed out and compelling, and his rapport with Brody is excellent. And Roy Schieder! Damn, he’s so easy to relate to and root for. A perfect cast for a perfect movie.
I’m not much sure what else there is to say. Jaws is a bloody (quite literally) masterpiece. Any film buff (or casual audience member) interested in simply good movie-making owes it to themselves to see this film.
General Audiences: Must-see
Film Buffs: Must-see