Jaws, 1975 – ★★★★½

Jaws is increasingly dated in a handful of its special effects and corny characters but it’s an otherwise entirely gripping adventure within a non-linear Spielberg depiction of a world of three dimensional people acting like they might actually do in the grips of absurd situations.

The music is surprisingly joyful at times, lulling you into many moments of danger like a gently tip-toeing pied piper. This is also mirrored by regular satisfying moments of companionship and humorous displays of humanity that cleanse your emotional palette and force you to drop your guard til the next moment of peril breaches the atmosphere.

The actors put on a convincing show portraying each of their nuanced caricatures with enough humanity that you can understand their potential to be strangers, enemies, and friends in the same day.

The tendency of characters to speak over each other up to the scale of small crowds creates an almost documentary level of realism-through-chaos to many settings that somehow makes the main characters shine through due to your need to focus harder on them in the anarchy.

The editing from start to finish achieves a sense of presence and pacing that builds up to cuts that verge on comedic timing at its most obvious, without being jarring.

There’s so much more that could be said but it bottles down to this being ‘Classic Spielberg’ that you should watch if you haven’t seen it ever or recently.

I will say that perhaps 1/2 a star could be due to nostalgia but 4 feels a little cold blooded.

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