1975 - PG - 124 Mins.
|Director: Steven Spielberg|
|Producer: Richard D Zanuck, David Brown|
|Written By: Carl Gottlieb, Peter Benchley, Howard Sackler|
|Starring: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton |
|Review by: John Ulmer
The terror. The music. The actors. The dialogue.
Those elements sparked a newfound interest in the nature vs. man genre back in 1975 when "Jaws" was first released.
It follows the story of a man named Brody (Roy Scheider), the sherriff in a pleasant little town named Amity, which is seated right by the ocean. Nothing ever happens in Amity. It is the same little routine every day for Brody. Wake up, go to work, come home, go to bed, wake up, go to work, etc...
But all that changes in one moment of disbelief.
But after some vicious incidents occur in the water outside his town and home, Brody investigates and finds that the killings were no boating accidents, but shark attacks. After calling in marine biologist Matt Harper (Richard Dreyfuss) and hiring a mysterious man named Quint (Robert Shaw), Brody takes to the seas to hunt for the Great White Shark...and defeat it.
Steven Spielberg got his big break directing this film. It brought him to fame and he since went on to create many more popular movies, including "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and such. But it is his direction that makes this film's tension work so well. Granted, the reason the shark was never shown was because the fake shark robots wouldn't work, but even if they had shown the shark in the beginning, Spielberg still does good here.
John Williams' score is quite possibly one of the best film scores ever performed, ranking right up there with "Psycho" and Alan Silvestri's "Back to the Future" theme. It is moving, frightening, and all around completely emotional. The thing that is most impressive about the score is that it revolves around a few keys on a piano being hit over and over and over again.
Roy Scheider quite possibly gives his best performance ever in this film. He has dropped out of the limelight lately, not being in any films as of recent; but everyone will remember his performance as Brody in this film. Always.
Richard Dreyfuss is also at the top of his game here. I think it is interesting to note that like Scheider, Dreyfuss has not been in many films recently. Maybe it's post-"Jaws" effect. I'm not sure. But I know that the only time I've seen a performance as good as his in this film was a little comedy with Bill Murray called "What About Bob," which is an excellent comedy.
I read the novel "Jaws" by Peter Benchley, and it is one of the few novels where the movie is better. Benchley lost my interest halfway through the book when he stopped talking about the shark at all. He introduces it in the beginning, and uses it a little at the end, but most of the story is all about character development and has nothing to do whatsoever with a great white.
That is what is so nice about the film. It keeps character development going while keeping interest in - and not letting the audience forget about - the shark out in the water.
All in all, "Jaws" is one of the best films ever made. It easily combines horror, comedy, thriller, mystery, comedy and drama into one little bundle called a film. It's a masterfully crafted thriller that never stops delivering.