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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 07.29.19] Canada comedy thriller

Rob Grant's latest thriller Harpoon is the latest entry into the fine collection of movies which take place in one location. In this case, we have a trio of friends on a yacht in the middle of the open ocean.

Richard (Christopher Gray), Jonah (Munro Chambers) and Sasha (Emily Tyra) are long-time friends with a ton of baggage. Richard is loaded and kind of a dick who is also generous to his friends. Sasha is a nurse and also Richard's long-time girlfriend while Jonah is a struggling with the fact that his parents were disappointed in him and because they died during a trip he bought for them; he also feels a little guilty.

Harpoon opens with an ugly fight that then turns into a day trip on Richard's yachts as a feeble attempt to make amends. The trio's day trip turns ugly when an exercise in "clearing the air" gets out of hand and very quickly, the friends find themselves stranded, hungry, thirsty and ready to do almost anything to stay alive.

The framework of Harpoon is pretty flimsy and honestly, the entire set-up requires some measure of suspension of disbelief but if you can get past the ridiculousness of the plot, the drama that unfolds on the yacht itself is not only hugely entertaining but also a great, if heightened, insight into the human psyche and the often complicated inner workings of friendships.

Grant and co-writer Mike Kovac's script is whip smart. The pair manage to build the relationship between the three amigos without flashbacks but more than that, by slowly dispersing information in such a way that the audience is always waiting for the next shoe to drop and with each new morsel of information they dole out, alliances change.

Grant and cinematographer Charles Hamilton make excellent use of the intimate location and the practical effects add a nice touch to the project but Harpoon relies heavily on the acting talent and for the most part, they deliver. Munro Chambers, best known for his role in Turbo Kid, and Emily Tyra who has worked extensively on TV, are both particularly good moving seamlessly between moments of drama and terror but Christopher Gray is a little problematic and his performance is a bit flat, especially when placed side-by-side with Tyra and Chambers. It's a little distracting but doesn't detract too badly from Harpoon's overall enjoyment.

It's a bit silly and over-the-top, at times predictable and at others innovative but overall, Harpoon is certainly entertaining and worth a look. If you're squeamish about blood, be forewarned: there's a lot of it!

Recommended Release: Piranha

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