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Published by: NadiaYadallee on Feb 28, 2013
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The Cutting Edge Film Programme

Jaws is an American thriller made in 1975 and is directed by Steven Spielberg. The film depicts a great white shark that attacks the people on the beach of Amity Island, the police are notified and attempt to hunt down the shark with the help of a marine biologist. However these attempts have led to misunderstandings which have caused horrifying, unexpected deaths which had consequently created rifts between relationships with the people on Amity Island.

Figure 1

Jaws is a highly recognised film due to the scary nature of the story. The intensity of the narrative has a strong effect to the overall film, as it slowly builds up to prepare the audience of what is to come. The backgrounds of characters and relationships are slowly unravelled only to be destroyed by the frightening great white shark that terrorises the local town. This slow pacing of the story entices the audience into wanting to see what next happens and creates terror which justifies the fear we feel of the thought of stepping into water again. "Jaws" holds up as a sterling example of good storytelling, aided by perfect pacing, a magnificent performance from Shaw, and -- when the film is chugging along at its best -a tension that's more taut than the piano wire Shaw's Captain Quint uses as fishing line’ (Scott, M 2012)

The Cutting Edge Film Programme

Figure 2

Although the story expresses its importance for the pacing, the score accompanies it and effectively adds to the fear which builds up when we hear the scarce piece of music, which creates suspense and has the illusion that danger approaching. John Williams who composed the score uses an alternative pattern of two notes to create the daunting effect which makes the audience jump at their feet. ‘Before we see anything, our ears are chilled by composer John Williams' menacing two note soundtrack which then builds into that unforgettable frenzy as the unseen shark savages its first victim. Never has a film score so perfectly propelled the action or us to the edge of our seats.’ (Martin, B.H. 2012)

Figure 3

The Cutting Edge Film Programme

There is a sense of simplicity within the story to which the horror is amplified by certain elements such as the camera angles and the score. The simplicity is expressed at the opening scene where two youths are seen skinny dipping but immediately the audience as well as one of the characters in thrown at the deep end, her vivid jerked movements as she attempts to struggle free from the monster has the viewer at the edge of the seat, until unfortunately she is sucked into the water with nothing but silence. This mentally prepares the audience for what is to come. ‘The movie's justifiably legendary opening [paves] the way for an engrossing first act that's heightened by both Scheider's magnetic performance and the inclusion of several unbearably tense interludes.’ (Nusair, D 2012)

The Cutting Edge Film Programme

 Figure 1 http://slckismet.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/is-jaws-only-good-shark-story.html Figure 2 http://thefineartdiner.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/jaws-cleansing-of-america.html Figure 3 http://www.hudsonlee.com/pant-soiling-scene-5-jaws/

 (Scott, M 2012) http://www.nola.com/movies/index.ssf/2012/08/jaws_proves_it_still_has_bite. html (Martin, B.H. 2012) http://www.u.tv/blogs/B-H-Martin/Shark-Attack-Jaws-Is-Back/01dadc82-fc8249f0-bbd6-88f09371c29d (Nusair, D 2012) http://reelfilm.com/spielbrg.htm#jaws

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