In class, we analysed the opening of jaws to explore what conventions are used to create a suspenseful opening.
At first, the film establishes normality on a beach, where everyone appears to be happy. This is common in thrillers as it helps the audience understand the situation and forebode what will happen later on in the film. The audience is then brought into the view point of the shark, by using camera angles from underneath the water, revealing the characters legs. This is also dramatic irony that the characters don't know that they could be in danger.
The false plateau takes the audience and alerts them to the danger of the characters when the 'shark' is first spotted. All the guests on the beach start to panic and run onto the beach. The scramble seems desperate and the audience is brought into a moment of panic. This turns out to be a false alarm, hence the false plateau and is actually two children messing around in the water. When this is revealed, the audience is lured into a false sense of security. The comical moment when the children look up and are surrounded helps to make the audience more relaxed before the shark does actually turn up.
The second time the shark is introduced, the audience knows that this time, it is real as the non-digietic string orchestra fades in and gradually gets louder and faster. This creates suspense because the tone of the music is negative and the audience can forebode something bad is about to happen. This also keeps the scene interesting as everyone in the scene does not go into the same panic as the first time, or else it would be too repetitive.
When the man goes out into the water to help the children; the bomb theory is used again, as they do not know that they are in danger. This makes the sequence particularly thrilling as they are young people in danger.
At the end of the sequence when the man is attacked, his leg floats to the surface of the water. The fact that not so
In my opinion, the false platau is effective in getting straight to the action.