Cargo – Review

Genre Drama, Thriller
Directed by Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke
Starring Martin Freeman, Anthony Hayes, Caren Pistorius
Released on October 6, 2017 (Adelaide Film Festival), May 18, 2018 (Worldwide)
Duration 105 minutes
Flixxpanda Rating 9/10
Channel Netflix

Ever thought a zombie movie would touch your heart and make you cry? Well, Cargo has done it.

Every single zombie movie I’ve ever seen has been full of unnecessary amounts of gore, people screaming their heads off, a lot of high suspense music and high-speed chases between the undead and the living. Cargo brings an entirely fresh set of ideals to this overused genre and honestly I’m here for it.

Directed by Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke, this isn’t a classic zombie horror film. Sure, it gets your blood pumping sometimes and has a few terrifying-looking monsters but at the crux of it, it’s more about parental anxiety and sacrifice. Further there are barely any zombies constantly running around attempting to eat peoples’ brains. It’s all very laid back in that sense. Cargo takes place in the Australian outback, so it’s not as heavily populated as say New York, so I guess less humans means less zombies? But because of this, it leaves room for a beautiful plot line, fantastic cinematography and story-telling at it’s finest.

Here’s what happens. Some kind of virus that turns humans into zombies within 48 hours of being infected has spread. We’re never really given to what scale the virus has spread or how many people have been affected, but it looks bad, that’s about all we know. The film starts with Andy (Martin Freeman) and his wife Kay (Susie Porter) living on a houseboat along with their baby girl, Rosie. It looks like all is well, up until you realize they’re essentially imprisoned on it and barely scraping by because of the lack of rations. It’s emphasized right from the beginning that Rosie is their number one priority and every move they make is to give her a chance at a good life.

They find an abandoned sailboat which Andy goes aboard to collect supplies. When he returns and declares that the boat was indeed abandoned, Kay goes aboard alone to bring back more supplies where she gets bitten by a zombie that was hiding before. They decide to go try find a hospital on shore and after a sequence of unfortunate events Andy ends up bitten with Rosie strapped to his back trying to find a place for her to live and grow up safe, with 48 hours to do so.

Cargo portrays humanity at its best and at its worst. It shows us how inhuman people can be but also just how far they’re willing to go for the people they love. While the movie is slow and yes, some people even called it dull, boring and stopped watching half-way, Cargo’s slow plot-line is its finest asset. We all know Martin Freeman is a spectacular actor from his roles in Hobbit, Sherlock and so on. He has a penchant for subtlety and that’s exactly what he does here. Even when he sees zombies and is turning into one himself, he pulls it together, for his daughter’s sake. There are no aggressive emotionally intense scenes. Even when his wife dies or he says goodbye to his daughter, the subtlety is what made me tear up at the end.

The movie is bleak, definitely not suited to younger audiences but it’s beautiful (ha ever thought of a zombie movie as beautiful?) and definitely worth your time.

Video Credit – Netflix | YouTube

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