Saturday, July 27, 2019

HARPOON Review: Add this Movie to Your Top 2019 List

Before I researched the films at this year’s Fantasia Fest, I had no idea that my Dread Central family had a film showing in the lineup. I am always proud of the fam, but I must say that you guys rocked again with this gem, Harpoon, directed and written by Rob Grant.

The film introduces Jonah (Munro Chambers), a young man at home, staring at a picture of himself and his parents. What he sees is not only them, but also disappointment at what his life has become. His parents died in a car accident. And the bastards—they left him nothing but debt and no way to succeed out of it. The only bright light in life came from his two friends Sasha (Emily Tyra) and Richard (Christopher Gray), who started to dim that light with the drama in their relationship.

This is seen in the first scene, where Richard speeds to Jonah’s home. Once the door opens, Richard swings at Jonah and continues the pummel, expecting answers to why Jonah slept with Sasha. But when Sasha arrives, we discover that the text messages were about a harpoon—not sex. What results from this misunderstanding is an apology in the form of a game of Even Stevens, where the friends spend each subsequent scene making up for the a mistake. But this game of Even Stevens is rarely won as the stakes increase. As the synopsis reveals, “Rivalries, dark secrets, and sexual tension emerge when these three best friends find themselves stranded on a yacht in the middle of the ocean under suspicious circumstances.
Harpoon has a narrator. Now normally, I am not the biggest fan of narration in films these days. Too much responsibility is placed on the narrator to clarify actor’s actions or developments in the story. However, the narration in Harpoon provides a different view into what you are witnessing or are about to witness. The story itself flows well. Revelations appear at crucial points and the underlying history compels you to ask yourself what you would do in particular situations. I appreciate this level of research into humanity’s folklore and history, especially as it relates to open water. The history lesson in Harpoon is exciting to hear, particularly the coincidence behind Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and 17-year-old sailor Richard Parker.

Furthermore, I commend Harpoon’s brilliant acting. The film is narrated by Brett Gelman (The Other Guys and A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas). His seemingly withdrawn disposition to the story preserves the comedy through serious subject matter, especially when we are first introduced to the dire situation of Jonah, played by Munro Chambers. Whenever I see Chambers on screen, I remember his roles in Degrassi and Turbo Kid. Now, I will forever remember his acting range in Harpoon, traveling up and down the emotional spectrum alongside the captivating Emily Trya (Code Black) and Christopher Gray (The Mist, The Society).

But we can’t leave this review without covering the directing. Director Rob Grant has worn many hats in the film industry, but with Harpoon being the second movie I’ve seen from him, I can now say that I love whenever he is wearing his directing hat. The first movie I watched from him was Alive. Brilliance carried from that film into Harpoon—and was probably quadrupled with surprises. I got a chance to speak with this talented creator at Fantasia. I was astonished to witness his high level of humility. Truthfully, with a movie like this, one with layers of storytelling, character development, great pacing and comedy, Grant has a plethora of bragging rights he can cash in on. I would’ve understood (and agreed) if he boasted up and down the festival about his film. But since he remains humble, I will do the boasting for him. This movie is phenomenal!

 4½ out 5 queen skulls!

Still not sure if you want to watch HARPOON
Check out the trailer: 

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