Jaws ★★★★★


To talk about Jaws eventually just turns into a list of superlative elements, working harmoniously in pursuit of particular tones and genres. It's a vicious horror film, a daring adventure, a portrait of masculine roles, as well as a vision of a small community unsettled by a natural force. Funny, scary, genuinely dramatic, edited to perfection etc, it's all there. It's a defining 'movie', motion picture, film, yes to whatever you call these things. But the devil is in the details, and with each re-watch, Jaws finds a new way to impress me. On this viewing, it struck me as an essential text of man vs. nature, with the Orca and the water surrounding them being the stage for their own individual reckoning. Spielberg is careful in how he places the actors in the frame, and their reaction to the unfolding events; how they move and interact with the environment is always a product of the shark's control over the situation. As a battle of wits and strength, the shark puts up a hell of a fight, but Spielberg is aware that it isn't just a war for Amity Island, but for these men to remain confident in who they are as people - small specks in a vast, unforgiving world.

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