Harpoon (2019)

Director: Rob Grant
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Rating: 18
Starring: Brett Gelman, Munro Chambers, Emily Tyra, Christopher Gray

Having been friends for a long time, Jonah (Munro Chambers) spends his time hanging out with Richard (Christopher Gray) and Sasha (Emily Tyra), who are also a couple. But things have become strained, because Richard is prone to violent rages, and suspects Sasha has cheated on him with Jonah. After an incident which leaves them at each others throats, they try to patch things up on an ocean trip in Richard's boat, complete with his birthday present. What did Sasha and Jonah get for Richard? A spear gun! What could go wrong?

Written and directed by Rob Grant, this ocean set chamber piece will make you laugh, and just as easily leave you white knuckled. As the blood flows throughout the well crafted set pieces, the increasingly dire circumstances ensure audiences feel the tension. Thankfully, the comedic moments are there for some much needed release, and it helps they're an absolute hoot.

Central to these proceedings are a trio of friends, who are brought to screen very well by all involved. There are enough moments of these friends having a good time, as their long friendship is sold very well, but they're fundamentally broken people. Jonah is unhappy with life, but feels the need to latch onto his friendships with the group, a need born from the chilly relationship he had with his parents. Munroe Chambers does well in emphasising his characters deep loneliness, and how he seeks solace in his friendships, no matter how much detest is clearly registered across his face.

At heart, Richard is an insecure little boy, worried about his relationship with Sasha. He approaches it in boneheaded ways, and is prone to violent outbursts, which understandably leave him painted as an outright villain. This is very well captured by Christopher Gray, but the standout star has to be Emily Tyra. She acts as the mother hen figure, looking out for those closest to her, but has her own goals in mind, and Tyra puts this across in a very compelling way. Special mention is also deserved to Brett Gelman, whose humorous narration brings many laughs, while revelling in what gory scenes occur on the screen, and feels like a necessary and informative part of the tale.

As the story unfolds, key items are brought to light, new elements are introduced, and it's pretty gripping to see what situation may ensue, as a result. Your thoughts on the characters may shift, no matter how likeable the performances are. It's worth remembering that, when it comes down to it, these are absolutely awful people, and it's understandable that this may turn off some people. Although, it's worth saying that much of the fun comes from seeing them get their just desserts, as such terrible people get exactly what they deserve.

An ocean set three-hander, Harpoon brings the dark comedy and the tension in equally effective ways. Think of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia at sea, with a spear gun, and you're there.