Analysis Of The Film Jaws

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Jaws (Spielberg, 1975) follows the police chief Brody (Rob Schneider), along with oceanographer Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw), in their attempt to protect the town of Amity against a Great White shark that is terrorising beachgoers. It was adapted from Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel of the same name.
The production of Jaws went past schedule and over budget, and there were malfunctions with the prosthetic sharks that were intended to be used in the film. As a result of this, Spielberg decided to only suggest the appearance of the shark as often as possible, as opposed to showing the prosthetic body during all attacks. This sparing use of the prosthetics, and primary focus instead on creating suspense and dread
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The claustrophobic feeling this invokes suggests to the audience that the girl is completely trapped, as her body now occupies most of the space in the frame. Furthermore, the contrast between the previous wide shot and the following close up, emphasises the abrupt and shocking nature of the attack. The girl is shown thrashing in the water and is dragged side to side, to simulate a shark attack. Through the effect of the close up, the audience becomes part of the attack, as if they are in the water themselves. Lester Friedman agrees that the audience becomes emotionally invested in the events onscreen: ‘while our rational consciousness understands that these are fictional creations with no power to harm us, we share the emotions of the characters trapped within the narrative unfolding before us’ (Friedman, 2006). Overall, the first shark attack shows how cinematography can be used to effectively create a thrilling attack sequence, without needing to show the predator, as what the audience doesn’t see is arguably more frightening than the little they…show more content…
Suspense is further created in the scene with the fishing line used to attract the shark to the boat, centred in the frame, as the audience wait in fear for the shark to emerge. When the audience gets a first look at the shark, it comes as a surprise. The shark is seen over Hooper’s shoulder. This shot selection takes the audience off guard, as they have been conditioned from previous events in the film to anticipate the shark’s arrival when the film employs underwater shots and John Williams’ two note score. Spielberg continues to create tension in the action sequences with the shark by suggesting its presence once more with the yellow compressed air barrel, and the prosthetic shark is only fully seen when it attacks Quint. This scene focuses on shocking the audience with the graphic scene of Quint being eaten, as the creature that summoned so much suspense and dread earlier in the film, is arguably no longer frightening in its full form.
In conclusion, the cinematography in Jaws functions as a way of creating suspense, the shot choices made are able to manipulate the audience into believing there is a shark, when the real animal is not fully seen on screen until minute 81. The shots used throughout
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