There is no question that when looking at one the great films of our century, Jaws is one of them. It remains to be a classic, and its directing style has been one of the most impressive of all movies ever. The film follows an attack by a Great White Shark on Amity Island. The attempts to stop the shark is the main plotline of the film. Disagreements that occur between characters on how to handle the shark acts as smaller conflicts throughout the movie. The shark serves as the primary “antagonist” of the film, and the characters that we are meant to follow and root for are constantly put in danger. This keeps the viewers on their toes and never know what to expect, as the fear of a character being killed is common throughout the whole film. The film’s greatest strength is its Cinematography. The film manages to createso many new uses of cinematography in unique ways to capitalize on the plot and the reason for the film being so successful. The camera angles, movements, depth of field, etc. all comes together perfectly. The film is a cultural classic, not just because of its plotline, but because of its innovative and creative cinematography that allows it to create the story in a whole new aspect.
The use of camera panning is used often throughout the film. The first use of this is in the opening, when there is panning through the bonfire of all the people. This happens frequently throughout the film. Often, panning is used to follow characters as they are walking or running through a scene. It helps the viewers to follow the character and feel like they are going through it like the character is. The film also has characters coming out from the foreground into the shot multiple times. For example, their face will pop up from below the screen right into the shot. The camera placement is also strategically used throughout the film. For example, in a scene with Brody and his family, there is a close-up shot of his face on the phone with his family in the background. This is meant to clearly put emphasis on Brody, and emphasize his importance in the film as opposed to his family. Scenes of the beach and water are often used at a low angle camera height, to gather a larger width of the view in the camera frame. In addition, the low angle shots are usually used when filming scenes underwater. This is meant to show that the shark is coming, and that the low angle shot is portraying those in the water to be in danger. The panning and tilts used by the camera is meant to represent the sharks point of view. Essentially, the camera is trying to create the perspective of the viewers watching these people formthe shark’s eyes, and to be worried for their safety. During the scene when there is a shark attack on the beach, the camera movements are very important for the action of the scene. When the attack is happening, there is a zoom out and dolly in onBrody’s face. This is clearly done to show importance to the character’s reaction to the shark attack, and that we should feel his shock and emotions over it. As he and other people at the beach begin running towards the water, the camera panning is done to follow Brody as he runs across the beach. This is done for us to follow him during this incident. A low angle is used to show the most amount of people possible fleeing from the shark. Overall, the camera movements and placements do an excellent job at setting the tone for this scene specifically. It is meant to show that trouble is coming, and has the viewers seeing the scenes underwater from the sharks point of view. The tension is being built up, and the movement of the camera angle into the girl’s leg allows viewers to feel visually connected to the shark attacking the girl. Before the action even occurs, the camera manages to create the buildup tension and keep the viewers glued to the screen. It is clear something bad is about to happen, and it’s near impossibly to look away from the screen during this build up.
The cinematography of Jaws gives the film added elements of intrigue, perspective, and action. While camera movements may seem simple and irrelevant, this film manages to prove just how imperative the camera is to show off the story of a film. The camera placements and movements goes with the theme of the film, and gives the viewers the perspective of the shark, which is the most important part of the entire film. While the shark is basically never seen, we often are seeing things through its perspective, and that adds to the tension and fear that the film is intending to create. The cinematography of Jaws does an immaculate job at creating entirely newelements to the story of the film and is a huge reason at why it has been considered one of the greatest films of all time.