Jaws, a film review

The Film ‘Jaws’, which is directed by Steven Spielberg, is set on an island called Amity Island, Amity means friendship. It is set in1973 on the 4th July. It is set on the 4th July because it is an Independence Day for America which is a family occasion. As well as being on Independence Day it is also in the middle of the summer so there would be lots of people on the beach to set the scene. The film ‘Jaws’, that Steven Spielberg directed, is about a giant 25 foot shark however we don’t find out it’s true size until near the end of the film . The shark is in the sea killing people on Amity Island.

A person called Brody, we don’t find out his first name, who is played by Roy Schneider is trying to close the beaches after finding out there is a shark in the waters. However the Mayor of Amity Island is having none of it because the 4th of July is when they make most money, so whilst they have the beaches open they also have people patrolling the sea. I think that the many techniques Spielberg uses to build suspense and scare the audience is good because it’s keeping people tense and on the edge of their seats. In my opinion he is hugely successful and I am going to show this in my essay.

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The first technique that Steven Spielberg uses that I would like to discuss is in the opening sequence is the music, written by John Williams. This is indeed a very good technique to use because not only does it connect the shark to the music but it also helps to create suspense later on in the film keeping the audience tense. Although when Brody is talking to the man a boys dog gets eaten there is no music and we don’t see the attack but we still Know the dogs been eaten so we know the sharks out there somewhere. However later on in the film when the two little boys have a cardboard fin on there is no music so we know it’s not the shark.

On the other hand it is still suspenseful just because of the fin. Also Spielberg doesn’t always use the music as we find out near the end when Brody is throwing meat into the water to lure the shark and the shark nearly takes his arm off. Also in the opening sequence when the camera shows the point of view of the shark moving through the weeds, the music gets faster and faster indicating something is going to happen making everyone tense. However it changes suddenly to the beach party and the contrasting music of the mouth organ, connecting someone from the beach party to the shark.

Then when the boy and girl go off you immediately know that something is going to happen, although you don’t know who to. When the girl goes into the water and it switches to the sharks point of view, we know that the attack will be on the girl then the music kicks in pushing everyone to the edge of their seats, then the music gets faster and the camera goes from below the water to above the water a couple of times showing the girl totally oblivious to the sharks presence and making everyone just want to shout out ‘there is a shark in the water.

After she gets eaten the water goes back to calm and silent as if nothing ever happened. I am now going to analyze another of Steven Spielberg’s good techniques, the way he uses the cameras. I think the way Spielberg uses the cameras in ‘jaws’ is spectacular Spielberg’s technique shines most in the second attack. At first you think something is going to happen when Spielberg uses a tracking shot following a boy walking up to his mother, then it changes to a mid shot when the boy asks for another ten minutes in the water associating him with the attack.

Still on mid shot the camera switches to Brody’s face making us see how paranoid he is. The camera then switches to a tracking mid shot following a boy in a yellow T-Shirt throwing a stick into the see for his dog to fetch. Then when the dog runs into the sea followed by his owner it makes us think that there is nothing wrong so we relax a bit. Then the camera on tracking shot still switches to a little boy on a yellow lilo making us sure the little boy is going to get killed by the shark.

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