Stay Human! (Film Review: “Cargo”)

Cargo-Australian-Poster

From Fargo to Cargo, Martin Freeman injects an element of Humanity into all his roles, most notably in this heartbreaking portrait of a father stranded in the Australian Outback trying to protect his infant daughter from a Zombie Apocalypse.

SnapShot Plot

The Zombie theme is alive and well, both here and across the globe and its popularity doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon. Indeed, despite my general disdain for horror movies which rely on gratuitous buckets of blood and gore to tell a story, I have waved the flag for those whose primary concern is characters over flesh, in which the human element (no matter how tenuous) is the tie that binds. As is the case in the frightening yet quite moving Australian film, Cargo.

The movie opens amidst a nation-wide pandemic which has already decimated the population, driving the remaining survivors into the most remote regions of the Australian wilderness. Freeman’s character, Andy and his wife Kay (Susie Porter) are taking a boat downriver to a spot on the map they believe will offer some sanctuary for them and their own precious cargo, baby daughter Rosie. As expected, things go horribly wrong and Andy finds himself alone, wandering a rugged terrain in a race against time to somehow seek salvation or to (literally) find a new family to raise his baby girl. And in the midst of the most abject nadir of hopelessness, an unlikely ally and companion emerges in the form of a young Aboriginal girl named Thoomi (in a softspoken and nuanced performance by newcomer Simone Lander). As their odyssey unfolds, they each must come to terms with the risks inherent in their journey, while still holding out some hope that the inevitable may not come to pass.

Parting Shot

Scripted by Yolanda Ramke, who also directed Cargo along with Ben Howling, here’s a zombie narrative that dispenses with any scientific, geo-political or medical explanations for why the pandemic has occurred. Suffice it to say, it’s here and the future looks grim. Instead, here’s a story that questions our fellow man’s reactions to an impossible situation, examining the moral choices each of us may one day find ourselves faced with. In the case of Andy and Thoomi, their harrowing ordeal to survive against dangerous threats – both human and NOT – forms the basis for a bond which transcends blood and proves that families are sometimes adopted out of circumstance and fate. And that we are all precious cargo for each other.

Cargo is presently streaming on Netflix.

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YouTube Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5QJW0M5pik

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