Cargo (2017)

Director: Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke
Writer: Yolanda Ramke
Cast: Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, Susie Porter, Bruce R. Carter, Kris McQuade, Natasha Wanganeen, David Gulpilil, Anthony Hayes, Caren Pistorius
Seen on: 4.12.2021

Content Note: (mention of) rape, (critical treatment of) racism

Andy (Martin Freeman), his wife Kay (Susie Porter) and their baby Rosie are one of the few unaffected survivors of a pandemic that turned most of humanity into zombies. They survived by staying on their houseboat and far away from others. But then the rest of the world catches up to them and Andy finds himself alone with Rosie – and infected. Now he is on a tight deadline. If he doesn’t find somebody to take care of Rosie within 48 hours, she is doomed. In his search, he crosses path with teenager Thoomi (Simone Landers) who is trying to protect her family in her own way.

Cargo is an entertaining zombie movie that sticks more with the drama than with the horror. It does have a couple of pacing issues, but overall it’s a good watch.

The film poster showing Andy (Martin Freeman) walking through the outback with a baby on his back. He is holding a machete and behind him are three zombies in the distance.

It’s not like we haven’t seen quite a few zombie movies in recent years or rather decades, but Cargo does manage to add some new elements to it. I especially liked that there were remnants of government efforts in dealing with the pandemic before everything went to hell (also, let’s not think about the fact that we’re currently in the middle of a pandemic. At least nobody has turned into a zombie so far). The fact that one has 48 hourse before turning was also interesting, although the literal countdown device seemed a little weird – nature doesn’t work to the minute.

But the film is more interested in the drama of the set-up rather than its monsters. The horror mostly comes from other people rather than the zombies. People are dangerous, zombies are the waste they left behind.

Andy (Martin Freeman) with his baby on his back, talking intently to Thoomi (Simone Landers).

Ultimately, the film is about how we can continue in the face of catastrophe – and more importantly, how we can give the following generations a fighting chance as well. It is interesting that the future here lies with the girls and the indigenous people. Maybe that’s a tall order and a little simplified, but I appreciate the sentiment.

That being said, the film feels longer than it is and makes the short 48 hours feel like two weeks. I also feel that more could have been made of the story and its message. But for the most part, it gives us a fine movie night.

Andy (Martin Freeman) with his baby on his back, looking distrustful.

Summarizing: good enough.

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