HARPOON PosterRivalries, dark secrets, and sexual tension emerge when three best friends find themselves stranded on a yacht in the middle of the ocean desperate for survival.
Harpoon starts off with a bang. Well, more like a punch. A punch in the nose as Richard (Christopher Gray) barrel’s through Jonah’s (Munro Chambers) door beating his face to a bloody pulp for having supposedly slept with Sasha (Emily Tyra). The riot of editing and freezeframes is punctuated, with dry commentary by a narrator (Brett Gelman). The troublesome trio has been friends for a long, long time and this seems to be one of many battles they have had together. This opening had me at frame one and I was laughing, gasping, and aghast. As the film progresses though, writer-director Rob Grant‘s Harpoon morphs into something less funny and much darker almost losing its course in some choppy waters.
After the misunderstanding, Richard tries to apologize by asking Jonah and Sasha to join him on his family’s small boat for a day at sea. The impulsive trio heads out to open waters and this is where the things really get stormy. Somehow Richard still thinks Jonah and Sasha have a thing going. What’s more, he has a spear gun. Fought in tight quarters, and crammed with twists and turns Harpoon is a great bit of fun.
Then the second act hits and things get literary and dark. The pacing changes entirely as the three are stranded on a boat in open waters with no gas, no food, no water, and alliances that change with the tide. This would be almost too jarring a change if it weren’t for the clever script that Grant and co-writer Mike Kovac. The characters we still love to hate are there, but they are now in slow-motion survival mode. The action becomes far more psychological and interior save for a few gross-out moments.
While I do applaud the script and its ingenious use of minimal characters and setting, It’s the fourth character, the Narrator, that exists for no other reason than to facilitate the story. Who is this person? Surely they have a backstory. Why does he know so much bout these three ne’erdowells? We never get an answer. It’s as if Grant and Kovac were so eager to begin cracking the nut of how to keep things interesting that they discarded that one detail.
Regardless of the unconventional pacing and unanswered questions, the pic does more than enough right to recommend it. This is a cruel story of people of adrift at sea with no moral compass and I loved it. The performances are solid from our three leads and they have a believable, intense chemistry that pulls us in. Despite the ebb and flow of the plot and story beats, Rob Grant’s Harpoon is entertaining enough to keep your attention anchored to the screen.
Runtime: 1 hr 23 Mins
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