HARPOON

HARPOON

(director/writer: Rob Grant; screenwriter: Mike Kovac; cinematographer: Charles Hamilton; editor: Rob Grant; music: Michelle Osis; cast: Brett Gelman (Narrator), Munro Chambers (Jonah), Emily Tyra (Sasha), Christopher Gray (Richard); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Michael Peterson, Kurtis David Harder, Julian Black Antelope; Epic Pictures; 2019-Canada)

“Delivers the thrills and laughs.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The talented Canadian filmmaker Rob Grant (“Mon Ami”/”Alive”) delivers the thrills and laughs in this amusing and volatile dark B-film love triangle survival story, set on a yacht stranded at sea. Grant co-writes it with Mike Kovac as a minimalism venture with sharp-edged black comedy dialogue and a twisty ending.

Long time young adult friends Jonah (Munro Chambers), Sasha (Emily Tyra) and Richard (Christopher Gray) know each other only too well, or so they think. Jonah is a fuck-up who is down-on-his luck and saddened because his parents just died, Richard is a spoiled rich boy with a brutish appetite for violence and Sasha is a nurse, who while dating Richard, looks fondly after both boys and tempts each with motherly affection and sex, thereby causing each to be jealous of the other. When Richard suspects Jonah of making it with his girl after hearing text messages on the phone he misinterprets, he violently beats him up. But Sasha comes to the rescue by explaining to Richard the texting was actually about a birthday surprise they’d planned for him — a spear gun (a running gag whereas the spear gun is comically referred to as a harpoon). Thereby Richard offers an apology, and invites his pals to join him on a pleasure day-trip cruise on his yacht “The Naughty Buoy,” and welcomes the chance to use his harpoon for fishing.

The droll Brett Gelman acts as the bemused narrator, seemingly knowing what happened to the trio without it being told how he knows.

The trio realize they’re in big trouble when they’re stuck out on the Atlantic Ocean as the engine conks out and they have hardly any food and the radio doesn’t work. The dire situation of them drifting aimlessly in the ocean gives us a chance to know their backstory, as each character gradually reveals their inner thoughts, their superstitions, their plans for self-preservation and whether they would resort to cannibalism to survive.

The three stars use the dark material well.Their perceptive performances evoke in their characters a gallows humor, as things unravel for them and they no longer can hide behind their previous unsound ways of dealing with others. The journey becomes the thing and not the destination where these untrustworthy travelers end up.

REVIEWED ON 10/13/2019       GRADE: B   
https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/

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