It also provides a sense of mystery and the impression that the shark is searching for something. The music however, quickly builds up and gets louder and faster. This suggests that an event is imminent and that there will be some kind of action soon. It also increases the heart beat as we start to feel anxious. But just as we prepare for a scare, there is a total change in scenery and there is the sound of a mouth organ being played at a beach party. This creates a stark contrast. This suggests the people on the beach are unaware of the danger and appear to be in a different world altogether.
We are left with the impression that the sea is an ambivalent bystander following the violent attack. The sudden quietness and sound of the gentle sea is punctuated with the tolling of a single bell on the buoy – a death bell rung out after the event rather than as a warning. Before the third attack the music is jovial to make us relax and loosen- up, however the music in the background starts to build up and then again slow back down. This confuses and tricks us into believing something was going to happen, this turns out to be a false alarm.
It also makes us aware that something might be around the corner and so puts us on the edge of our seats. After the false alarm and after our heart has stopped pounding the leitmotif begins again, but this time, not only do we feel anxious, but we empathise for the only person in the scene crying out ‘Shark! ‘ This is because the leitmotif indicates the presence of the shark yet, like the only witnesses, we feel unable to affect the situation. As the scene progresses we see the shark behind the man who had fallen in the water. The music is calm.
This is because if we were there we would not hear anything apart from all the people yelling and panicking. This is similar to the first attack in this instance all we hear is what Chrissie hears, but under the water we can hear the fear- provoking leitmotif. This makes the attacks seem a lot more genuine and terrifying. As the film progresses we discover that on the beach Spielberg uses ordinary beach sounds of children playing and under the water we hear the menacing music. This gives us the impression that the sea is dangerous and perilous and once on land we are safe.
Nearly every Hollywood movie has its bad guys. Spielberg follows suite and portrays his human villain in the form of Amity’s mayor. He is a selfish, pompous and ignorant man who disagrees with every point Brody brings to him. Also, because of the clothes he wears, which are probably more suitable in the circus ring than anywhere else, he gives the impression he is not genuine and possibly a devious man that would put his own interests before others. The mayor helps to build up the tension as he has the power to save the day but chooses to take risks to pursue business ventures.
He is informed quickly by Brody of the Sharks’ presence but the mayor decides to overlook it as a one- off and to Brody’s disgust keeps the beach open. This creates on- screen tension between the two characters which therefore creates tension within us. Brody and the mayor’s personal ‘feud’ continues all the way through the film and keeps high tension throughout. After Brody had finally convinced the mayor to shut the beach the townspeople are less than happy, so to keep them on his side he makes it a 24- hour ban.
This starts to create probably the most tension in the entire film as the ban leaves Brody needing to catch the gigantic shark and only having 24- hours in which to do it. If he fails or runs out of time he fears more shark deaths in Amity. Because of the colossal amount of tension present, the second attack is without a doubt the most nail biting scene; however it is increased even more with the help of the ingenious camera techniques. At the start of the scene we get a panning and tracking shot of the boy walking up the beach to his mother.
This introduces us to the child and it makes it clear that he has a loving mum. Then as the boy asks if he can stay in the water, the camera focuses and zooms onto the conversation. This increases the tension a little as it informs us something bad is probably going to happen. Also in this scene we are focused on the yellow hat the boy’s mum is wearing. There is in fact a lot of yellow used in this scene plus the people who walk by on the wipe shots are wearing increasing more yellow. Not forgetting the boy’s lilo is yellow.
Yellow is important as in nature yellow is very hazardous and any animal displaying yellow is often considered as dangerous, or in our case anyone wearing yellow is in danger and so helps to show that there is a shark attack immanent. We then have a mid- shot of a man in a black swimming hat which builds up the tension and the suspense, but then when we realise it is a man in a black swimming hat and not a shark, we all sigh with relief along with Brody and the tension is released. There is a clever use of wipe shots in this scene.
As the scene goes on people walk in front of Brody and each time it zooms closer to him, then it cuts to looking out to sea (point of view shot). This shows how he is focused on the sea, which is important as it reiterates how paranoid he is about the shark attacking. This creates apprehension. It also makes us want the people to move out of the way so Brody doesn’t miss anything. When we have a mid-shot of a woman playing in the water screaming, this again quickly builds up the tension and increases our heart rate.
Then the camera pans from the sweet innocent child to the sea and then a close up of the stick which a man was throwing for his dog. Here we have a contrast between the calm happy child and the worrying man and it gives us the idea something is wrong. It also makes us feel uncomfortable and insecure as this contrast suggests that the sweet little boy might be on the shark’s menu next. There is now a big emphasis on the isolation of the boy. Whenever we see him in the water he is away from the other children. This is shown when we see a point of view shot from the Shark in the water.
This is important because throughout the film the people killed are isolated. During the shark attack the camera is at water level. This is a very clever use of the camera as it makes us feel like we are in the water with the people and therefore more in tune with what is happening. Also, we are given lots of zoomed under water shots of children’s legs which gives the sense of vulnerability as human legs are the first thing the shark will grab and they are the furthest part of our body from our view, so the shark will bite us before we can get a even a glimpse of it.