title: JAWS
year: 1975
cast: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Jeffrey Kramer
director: Steven Speilberg
rating: *****

Okay fine, I'll admit it: the shark looks fake... but - the situation is real. Or seems so real the fake-looking shark doesn't matter. And we don't see the plastic beast till later on: and which point we're hooked. There's not much to say about a perfect movie except this one does what no other horror/thriller has before, giving us two separate films: the first a "monster movie" with the monster mostly unseen gulping up victims; second a deep sea adventure straight out of Melville. Both stories coincide using a hand-off method of characterization. Starting out with Roy Scheider as Brody, the new sheriff of the island beach town Amity; then adding Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper, a young shark expert helping Brody solve the "mystery" (what kind of shark is it and was the right one killed?). Then the best character is saved for last (although he's introduced earlier with a classic speech, his real part comes later)... Enter Robert Shaw, all but stealing the show as Quint, a salty dog who, it turns out, survived the U.S.S. Indianapolis in World War 2... he's gonna help Brody and Hooper kill the shark deep at sea on his vessel THE ORCA, and unlike these two, Quint's objective is personal. The famous speech as Shaw recounts the Indianapolis story involving fellow sailers being eaten by sharks - not in the original Peter Benchley novel and conceived by director Speilberg then written by pal John Milius - is perhaps the greatest scene in film history. (And Shaw didn't even get nominated for an Oscar!) Murray Hamilton adds an excellent fourth tier as the mayor in denial; and Lorraine Gary as Scheider's faithful wife provides a steady anchor for our hero as he takes on something that wasn't in the job description. And least I forget Speilberg's sublime, ever-flowing direction, rolling off the screen like a visual symphony... speaking of which, would there even be a film without conductor John William's main theme and score (the same can be said of STAR WARS and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK)? This is one of the best movies ever made, and that's no exaggeration. It's got everything and then some!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Featured Post


There's a scene in Peter Bogdanovich's tribute to early film-making when Ryan O'Neal, a goofy lawyer turned goofy director, has...