Jaws ★★★★

Spielberg can direct the hell out of the lamest premise, I've said that before. Here his craft is already on full display, as Jaws is only a thinly veiled B-movie. The director does all in his might to elevate the material: his signature oners (unedited scenes) lend a lot of energy and immediacy to the simple story. The dialogue is kept to a minimum, it is all in the visuals: that second kill is built up nicely and then it is just so sudden and brutal.

Enter Robert Shaw, he is introduced as if he's the baddest motherfucker out there, although he has the demeanour of your favourite crackpot uncle. Within a few moments you know everything you need to know about the team dynamic which is especially important when they go out on the boat. The hunt itself is very methodical and yet has the air of being completely improvised.

Also, the stakes are raised efficiently: not only is the town in danger, but Scheider's family, too. Got it! What sets it apart from other creature features is the focus on the little human moments. That one scene with the mourning mother hits pretty hard. As much fun as it is to hang out at Martha's Vinyard, there isn't much atop the entertainment value. And I wouldn't mind if the third act was a bit shorter - which is an odd complaint, considering how compelling it is.

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