Harpoon (2019)

*. I love the way things kick off here. It’s a shot looking down on a yacht that’s placidly sitting in pristine blue waters, but as we slowly descend we make out the SOS duct-taped onto the deck. There’s always trouble in paradise.
*. The waters are the Caribbean somewhere off of Belize. I mean that was the filming location. I’m not sure where the yacht actually was supposed to be. Maybe they said something about that and I missed it, but in any event it doesn’t matter. The interiors were actually shot in Calgary. In January. That’s a whole lot colder than Belize.
*. The reason I even mention that this is a Canadian production has to do with a minor point about English vs. American pronunciation. As a Canadian watching a Canadian movie I’m used to being in a kind of no-man’s land here, but I did have a couple of triggering moments.
*. First of all: buoy. I pronounce this “boy,” with maybe a hint of “bwoy.” Some Americans pronounce it “booey” (for what are obscure reasons). It is pronounced “booey” here. This despite the fact that the name of the yacht is Naughty Buoy. How does that joke make sense as Naughty Booey?
*. Second: route. I pronounce this “root.” Some Americans, however, pronounce it “rowt” (or “rout,” as in the rout of an army). This is one I don’t care about too much, but I do find “en rowt” to be disagreeable. But once again the American pronunciation is presented here. So, to tidy things up, the point is that we’re not in Calgary.

*. Leaving these minor points aside, I thought Harpoon a pretty good movie. A trio of buddies head out to sea on the Naughty Buoy: rich dick Richard (Christopher Gray), Richard’s girlfriend Sasha (Emily Tyra), and third wheel Jonah (Munro Chambers). Yeah, that’s pretty much a recipe for disaster right there. The disaster erupts and before you know it the three chums are dead in the water, with escalating revelations pushing them all to the edge.

*. Things start off with a bang, which is usually a great idea but does lead to the pacing difficulty all fast starts have, which is dealing with the inevitable lull. Luckily it’s a short movie (84 minutes) so there just isn’t time for things to slow down too much. And the script — by director Rob Grant — while not all that original, does enough to hold interest during the talkier parts. At times it’s even quite clever, especially with a voiceover that takes us outside the movie but not in any kind of annoying way.
*. The voiceover sets a tone as well, which is that of the now ubiquitous “dark comedy.” But more than just horror and humour, the voiceover also indicates that none of this is quite real, which is a tricky note to hit right. That also helps with something I would have found fault with, which is the fact that none of the three amigos look like they’re dying of hunger or thirst. The performances are fine, but I thought they could have used some more make-up. Some parched lips? I mean, I was already suspending disbelief in thinking that they could go for a week without water. But would such a nod to verisimilitude have had any place in a movie like this? There’s that underlying sense throughout that none of this is to be taken seriously.
*. All-in-all a pretty successful little movie that I was glad I took a chance on. Being Canadian gave it a better chance of getting on my playlist and I wasn’t disappointed.

12 thoughts on “Harpoon (2019)

  1. Bookstooge

    Yeah, that joke makes no sense if you’re going to pronounce it that way. get with the program Canadian Director Dude!

    I am surprised there is no genetically mutated cat trying to kill them. That would have made the movie a lot funnier….

      1. fragglerocking

        I’ve always said boy when life has it that I need to refer to a buoy, which really isn’t very often, but if I ever have to again I am going to pronounce it booey as it rhymes with pfui which is my latest new word. I’m winning at words!

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