Stephan Spielberg’s second film is still known as one of his best films and earned him worldwide success on its release in 1975, and infused in its viewers a chronic fear of the sea.
When a Great White shark begins terrorizing a small American fishing town, it is up to policemen Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) along with trained shark killer, Quint (Robert Shaw) and marine biologist Matt Hopper (Richard Dreyfuss) to capture the shark.
Beginning with one of the most memorable openings in cinema history, Spielberg’s plan was not to reveal his killer to the audience believing it would make it more suspenseful. And he was right, watching the teenage Chrissie being hunted by an invisible monster evokes the most unimaginable terror. It also adds to our shock when we finally do catch a glimpse of the 25-foot Great White.
Not revealing his monster until later in the film is one of the greatest ideas Spielberg could have had, it isn’t only in the opening where this tension is created. There is the horrifying sudden close-up on Brody’s helpless expression as he realises the shark has claimed another victim.
But Jaws avoids being a generic horror flick with it’s humorous and incredibly likeable characters. Though he doesn’t appear until the film’s middle act, Robert Shaw’s masterful performance as Quint steals the show. is tough and cocky, determined to catch the Shark himself, although he is still helped along by Brody and Matt. Robert Shaw is perfectly cast, and cant fail to make you laugh and admire him for his determination.
Jaws truly deserves all its acclaim, it is an amazing combination of suspense and action held together by strong, believable characters and astonishing directing by one of the world’s greatest directors.