Amity Island: an idyllic beach resort town where visitors flock from all over the country in the summertime to enjoy some fun in the sun. That fun is nonexistent for their new Chief of Police, Martin Brody: A New York native looking for a change of scenery: “I’m telling you the crime rate in New York’ll kill you.” he remarks during the film;
After a shark attack leaves a young woman dead, Brody calls for a complete shutdown of the town’s famed beach until they can sort out the problem. Afraid the shutdown would hurt the community’s tourism, stubborn Mayor of Amity Island Larry Vaughn rejects those proposals, instead hiring oceanographer Matt Hooper: a young, ivy-leaguer on the side of logic and reason; He sides with Chief Brody and warns of more attacks to come — and a few more subsequent attacks occur; Eventually the mayor succumbs to pressure and allows the Chief to find and kill this demon of the ocean, terrorising their community.
The town hires Quint: an old-fashioned, highly eccentric fisherman obsessed with sharks and their predator instincts. Him, Brody and Hooper head out on Quint’s boat. The character differences are finely put on display, with Hooper’s state-of-the-art marine technology juxtaposing Quint’s old-school approach to things. The culture war is evident between these two and it makes for some compelling moments.
Brody has the misfortune of being a landlocked New Yorker, not used to the sun-drenched island communities and ocean, whatsoever. Always having a fear of water, seeing him challenge his fear as well as the mounting pressure as Chief in a town he doesn’t understand becomes increasingly engaging.
John Williams composes the iconic score, which became an archetype in suspenseful movie soundtracks. The use of shark is executed perfectly, showing glimpses of the beast throughout the film keeping up the suspense of uncertainty. The monologues are sharp and riveting, definitely the highpoint of the movie.
VERDICT — Jaws is the ultimate summer blockbuster that proves subtlety is more thrilling. A breathtaking character study and one of the most influential movies ever made.
RATING: 10 — ELITE
MVP: Robert Shaw as Quint.