Sunday, June 6, 2021


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke
Starring: Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, Susie Porter, Anthony Hayes, Caren Pistorius, David Gulpilil, Cliff Coulthard, Kris McQuade
Genre: Drama, Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
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Synopsis and Review:
Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke originally created "Cargo" as a short feature in 2013, and finally got a chance to expand it to a full feature length endeavor in 2017, with the film making its debut across a few film festivals (including Tribeca and the London Film Festival), before being released widely through Netflix. The film follows the story of Andy, at a time when an epidemic is spreading all over Australia, turning people into zombies. We originally encounter Andy, his wife Kay and their baby Rosie, unharmed, and planning an escape. That is until Kay is attacked and infected. Andy takes off with his family in the direction of the nearest hospital, in the hopes of still saving his wife, preventing the virus of transforming her. On their path, they suffer an accident, which prevents them from reaching help, with Kay finally becoming a zombie, and actually attacking Andy, and infecting him as well. Andy decides to carry Rosie, and find survivors who can protect her, since he knows he only has a few days left before the virus takes over. On that journey he finds the Vic, a rather unsavory character, and Thoomi, a young girl who is on a journey of her own, and who eventually becomes a welcomed ally. 
The zombie genre is always ripe for exploration, since it essentially allows for film makers to showcase how humanity deals with challenges that are both monumental and seemingly impossible to overcome. If Zack Snyder's "Army of the Dead" went for a hollow and adventurous take on the genre, "Cargo" goes in the opposite direction. The film aims and to a certain is successful in depicting the lengths a father goes to protect his family, and later on, his young daughter, at a time when it seems life is being eclipsed from everywhere. It's a testament to the film makers and to Martin Freeman's capabilities, that Andy is portrayed very much like an every day person, just attempting to hold on to a sense of normalcy, protecting his loved ones, and remain with whatever integrity and respect for human life as it is possible to do in the context that he finds himself in. The journey he embarks on is a cleverly portrayed one, even if the supporting characters sadly don't get much dimension to them, particularly the young Thoomi, who is desperately holding on to the memory of who her father was (we get a few flashbacks of their life prior to his infection, but not much reasoning for her desperate attachment). The film is nonetheless compelling, and features a solid performance from Martin Freeman, with apt support from Simone Landers, Anthony Hayes and Caren Pistorius. The cinematography from the great Geoffrey Simpson is impeccable, as is the production design from Josephine Ford. Worth watching.