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Jaws

Jaws

Released 15 June 2012
Director Steven Spielberg
Starring




Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie, Jonathan Filley
Writer(s) Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb
Producer(s) David Brown, Richard D. Zanuck
Origin United States
Running Time 124 minutes
Genre Thriller
Rating 12A
95

The original and best.

The best film to hit cinemas this week (and perhaps all summer) is thirty-seven years old, had a troubled production and featured a notoriously unreliable star known as Bruce, or on occasion, The Great White Turd. Jaws, the film that has scarred generations is receiving a very welcome re-release on the big screen and what a treat it is. The tale of a small island town terrorised by a Great White shark during its busy summer season is an almost perfect piece of cinema that has lost none of its power or its good looks.

Because Jaws is really a beautiful film despite what its director, the young Steven Spielberg, may have thought of its ungainly star. Ok, so during the shark autopsy scene, it may look like Richard Dreyfuss is cutting into a sofa but when it counts, the mechanical effects work astonishingly well. Bruce may have been a nightmare to work with and a little less reliable than one would hope for but give me his weighty, threatening presence over the CGI of Deep Blue Sea any day! Besides, it’s down to the failings of that shark that Jaws is the masterpiece that it is. Unable to show the shark as much as he would like, Spielberg had to create tension in other ways; with the famous John Williams score and the kind of tantalising hide and seek tactics that would have made Hitchcock proud.

On watching Jaws again it is this quality of storytelling that really hits home. It may have the dubious title of being the father of the summer blockbuster but it has so much more depth than the great empty spectacles that would follow it. The script is consistently sharp and witty, whether dealing with small town politics or the bite radius of a tiger shark. The cast is equally flawless. Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss are all perfect and form one of the most memorable trios in film history. Even Lorraine Gray has such a warm, natural presence that we can almost forgive her for Jaws: The Revenge. Almost.

During one scene on Quint’s boat as Brody is silhouetted against a dusky evening sky, a shooting star is captured streaming into shot - a once in a lifetime event for a truly special piece of cinema. Do yourself a favour this weekend and see it on the big screen.

- Linda O’Brien