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Critics reviews
Jaws
Steven Spielberg United States, 1975
The visual ellipsis created far greater menace and terror, as the shark is nowhere and everywhere. The cutting (Verna Fields was the terrific editor) and Spielberg’s use of reverse zoom create a jittery atmosphere, underscored (in both senses) by John Williams’s thrumming bass, eerily vibrating through the waters, its four-note motif the pulsating heart of the film.
January 03, 2017
The camera moves in while the lens simultaneously zooms out, which creates an unsettling effect of vertigo. Brody, perched in his beach chair, appears to stay in the same spot in the frame, while it appears that the environment around him is shifting. In Jaws, this is a purely psychologically based effect, meant to represent the altered state of the character on screen.
May 13, 2013
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The shark in Jaws is the shark of our collective worst nightmares, almost otherworldly in its enormity and texture. It’s also a great big phallic joke, the agent of the blowhard Quint’s destruction. The shark can mean anything you want it to mean, or nothing, and that uncertainty epitomizes this movie’s lasting appeal. Jaws is the pop masterpiece as happy accident; a parody of America’s can-do spirit that’s also, by the end, a celebration of it.
August 15, 2012
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By its last act “Jaws” has evolved into a boy’s seafaring adventure out of Kipling or Stevenson, a transition marked by John Williams’s score, which shifts from the pulsing suspense of Bernard Herrmann’s music for “Psycho” to an expansive, swashbuckling theme that evokes Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s compositions for “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” What the film lacks is any sense of adult sexuality — the very element that had defined the New Hollywood of the early ’70s.
August 10, 2012
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Like the best horror movies, the film’s staying power comes not from it’s superficial subject matter, in this case a mammoth, man-eating shark and the ominous abyss of the deep blue sea, but from the polysemic potential and wealth of latent meanings that these enduring symbols possess.
July 06, 2012
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If Spielberg’s is an essentially affirmative vision, Jaws, though an undeniable keystone of the Spielberg legend, is also its own animal, unique and unrepeatable. Its closest cousins in the Spielberg oeuvre are actually more wed to the grand techno-cinematic allegory at that oeuvre’s heart—to making belief believable—than their celebrated predecessor…
March 23, 2012
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