Friday, 21 February 2014

Film Review: Jaws

Jaws (1975) 124min

Figure 1: Jaws Poster

Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, is one of the most famous blockbuster movies said to have captured the most famous reaction in stop motion history; and has one of the most recognized score's of any thriller film. The story involves a huge man eating Great White Shark, terrorizing the beach goers at Amity Island, prompting the local police chief to hunt it with the help of a marine biologist and a professional shark hunter.

Figure 2: Chrissie; Underwater (Shark) Camera Angle

At the beginning of the film, we see a young girl called Chrissie leaving a local beach party to go skinny dipping. She swims out to a buoy, unaware of what is lurking underneath her. ''(…) we see the legs of Chrissie (Susan Blacklinie) slowly treading water from below. We know the danger, but she doesn't, and she is violently devoured" (Nesbit, n/a) The sense if knowing what the character doesn't, something mostly uncommon in modern thriller films, is captured perfectly in those few moments. The great score slowly becoming louder and more intense makes the most subtle of scenes seem to be the most violent, without the use of any blood or gore.

Figure 3: The Boat Shark Attack

Furthermore, the very first scene is also what most people fear when swimming in deep ocean water, and is the only camera view set to make the audience see from the sharks perspective in the entire film. 'The opening sequence is not only a classic, it's still frightening nearly three decades after it was made.'' (F. Hartman, 2003) Many have discussed the role and gender of the Shark within the film as many believe that the Shark is a metaphor for nature, (a symbol of a woman). An example of this is when Shark Hunter Quint is bitten in half 'below the belt' after seemingly being obnoxious and rude to his fellow ship mates. This soon becomes clear towards the metaphorical reason behind the shark and how this 'biting in half' scene could make the shark seem female and "anti-men".

Figure 4: Beach Goers Escaping the Sea

To conclude, Jaws will forever be "A looming, terrifying catch of the day." (TVGuide, 2007) The seeminglessy mechanical shark will keep us in fear of what is lurking beneath us when swimming in open water, and has the ability keep on scaring modern audiences beyond the 21st century CGI.


F. Hartman. (2003) Jaws Film Review
(Accessed on 25.02.14) URL At:
TVGuide. (2007) Jaws Film Review. 
(Accessed on 25.02.14) URL At:
Nesbit. (n/a) Jaws Film Review. 
(Accessed on 25.02.14) URL At:

Illustration List:

Fig. 1. Jaws Poster (1975) From: Jaws Directed by: Steven Speilberg [Poster] United States. Universal Pictures. URL At: (Accessed on 25.02.14)

Fig. 2. Chrissie; Underwater (Shark) Camera Angle (1975) From: Jaws Directed by: Steven Speilberg [Film Still] United States. Universal Pictures. URL At: (Accessed on 25.02.14)

Fig. 3. The Boat Shark Attack (1975) From: Jaws Directed by: Steven Speilberg [Film Still] United States. Universal Pictures. URL At: (Accessed on 25.02.14)

Fig. 3. Beach Goers Escaping the Sea (1975) From: Jaws Directed by: Steven Speilberg [Film Still] United States. Universal Pictures. URL At: (Accessed on 25.02.14)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heidi,

    Great to see you discussing the interpretation of the shark as a 'female man-hater' - try and get some of the more theoretical words in when touching on these ideas, such as 'vagina dentata', as this will make your writing sound all the more academic. Also, try and balance your arguments by providing another side - so you could also have looked at the shark as symbol of male power, a 'giant phallus', for example...