‘Harpoon’ is a Taut Black Comedy Out at Sea

Love triangles are bad enough as it is. Love triangles are also made spectacularly worse when the trio in question are stranded in the middle of the ocean on a private yacht with a harpoon (cough, speargun) and multiple grudges to bear.

Rob Grant’s aptly titled Harpoon follows the complete annihilation of the friendship-cum-weird-sexual-tension of Jonah (Munroe Chambers), Richard (Christopher Gray) and Sasha (Emily Tyra). Richard takes the role of insufferable rich guy living off daddy’s money and Jonah the complete opposite; a now-orphan left with the soul-crushing weight of his parent’s debt. Sasha floats somewhere in between, a good time gal in a relationship with the anger-prone Richard but tempted by the nice-guy sensibilities of Jonah.

And this is where the problems all begin.

Our first introduction to Richard is when he beats up Jonah over a supposedly suspicious text exchanged between him and Sasha. Accusing her of cheating, Richard is very much mistaken – the text was simply referencing a surprise birthday gift for Richard that the pair were trying to keep hush-hush: a harpoon. With Jonah’s face dripping with blood Richard promises to make it up to them with a spontaneous fishing trip on his yacht the ‘Naughty Buoy’.

Now drifting out into the ocean, it is at precisely the wrong time when the engine fails, and the gang realise that they also do not have a water supply. Confined to the ship and with an ever-mounting sense of tension between these could be/should be/would be lovers, their fight for survival just got a whole lot more complicated. Harpoon plays out like a whodunnit except everyone is guilty, it’s a mean and black-as-night comedy where just about everyone in its minimal cast is in some way loathsome.

That is not to say that Grant’s film is in any way unenjoyable, its increasing amounts of violence and twisted psyches as each character changes allegiances is undercut by a ripe, sarcastic narration from Stranger Things’ Brett Gilman. Gillman’s narrator behaves as Big Brother− he’s heard all the drama and everyone’s side of the story and is quite frankly, sick of it. He looks down on the hopeless trio like a referee, weighing up the pros and cons of each new predicament with a flurry of photo montages and a running black & white story about Richard Parker (the one of whom inspired the Tiger’s name in Life of Pi), who was killed in 1884 after a lengthy stint in a lifeboat forced his two shipmates to cannibalise him. So, I’m guessing you can understand the lengths these guys are willing to go to to save themselves.

Harpoon falls in love with its own insanity, pushing each of its characters to the very limits as they spill out their innermost dark secrets just as fast as blood spills out of them too. It gets gross, and it gets weird. While its gore can be stomach-churning in pretty much every instance it is on display, the dark humour remains the most brilliantly sick part of Rob Grant’s creation.

Harpoon is out on Digital on October 8th


by Chloe Leeson

Chloe Leeson is the founder of SQ. She hails from the north of England (the proper north that people think is actually Scotland but isn’t). Her life source is Harmony Korine’s 90s Letterman interviews and Ezra Miller’s jawline. She is a costume designer for hire who spends far too much time watching bad horror movies. Her favourite films are Into The WildLords of Dogtown, Stand by Me and Pan’s Labyrinth. She rants about cinema screenings @kawaiigoff and logs them on letterboxd here

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