You think you’ve seen Jaws. But have you heard it? Have you really listened?
Jaws is one of those films that most people have seen, at least partially, and usually younger than we should’ve. And it leaves a huge impression – watching a massive hulking bag of teeth repeatedly eviscerate tourists is bound to stick in the mind’s eye. And beyond that – from the moment Chief Brody realises the shark is at the beach and we get that dolly zoom, to the disembodied leg of a boating teacher silently, inevitably, sinking to the ocean floor, Jaws is a visual masterpiece. But of course, those of us who haven’t seen Jaws will still have heard composer John Williams’ ‘DA-DUM, DA-DUM’ tones of impending doom, from our teachers trying to be funny, from our fathers when they know their wives are angry with them, from a random episode of television. It’s a motif that’s recognisable throughout pop culture even 40+ years on.
It’s a true credit to the RTÉ Concert Orchestra that they could create such a strong atmosphere for a summer blockbuster at the start of November. You enter the National Concert Hall with a chill in your bones and a drink in your hand expecting to watch Jaws again and maybe get a kick out of the novelty. But the RTÉ Concert Orchestra elevates the experience of watching Jaws in a way I wouldn’t have expected – the accompanying instruments pull you into the water surrounding Amity Island and hold you there for 124 minutes, threshing around the emotional beats of the film. What really stood out for me here were the quieter moments, you really emotionally connect when Brody’s youngest son starts mimicking him against the dulcet tones of the instruments, or when we get to know Quint and they gently play ‘Spanish Ladies’ in the background.
I would whole-heartedly recommend attending a film-with-live-orchestra experience at least once, if you’re interested check out Ghostbusters with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra which is coming up on December 7th.