Spielberg was robbed of Best Director at the Oscars. Jaws wasn’t even nominated in the category — the only Best Picture nominee not to get that honour. And Spielberg was doing some incredible stuff here. Jaws is an art film posing as a thriller. 

The long takes. The hard cuts that force your eye to drastically shift, creating dread before a shark attack. The dramatic opening sequence that feels uncomfortably like sexual violence. The way Spielberg and his team use wide angle lenses not to accentuate the landscape, but to create intimacy and tension! There are multiple points where the wide angle is focused so close that people’s faces are visibly disfigured by the lens’ fish-eye effect. 

And, of course, the sequence on the beach where Brody first sees a shark attack. The editing is explosive (no pun intended), and the camera work is second to none. That dolly zoom! Worth every penny of the $20,000 some say they spent on it. 

There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t been said by people who are smarter than me. But I’ll repeat it here: Jaws is top-notch entertainment with real artistic merit.

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