Cargo

Cargo

(2017)

The future is fragile.

Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) leads this outback post-apocalyptic thriller as a father looking for salvation for his baby daughter.... More

When a freakish pandemic claims his partner's life and infects his bloodstream, Andy (Freeman) has 48 hours until he turns into one of the creatures his family has tried so hard to avoid. With his one-year-old daughter Rosie on his back, Andy searches for a safe pair of hands to protect her. His best chance is a flourishing Aboriginal tribe, but it's a passage not easily granted. Based on the directors' 2013 short film of the same name, which was a finalist at the Tropfest short film festival.Hide

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Flicks Review

Often when it seems like there’s nowhere for zombie movies to go, a little out-of-left-field film comes along to prove you wrong, squeezing a smidgen more life out of the genre’s exhausted conventions. Aussie epidemic pic Cargo does just that: injecting bracing, subtle layers into long-established flesh-munching lore while neither completely reinventing anything.... More

Its family-in-peril set-up is awfully familiar with A Quiet Place still fresh in the mind — there’s a baby here that really needs to pipe down, too. And you’ll see herky-jerky undead roaming the landscape for entrails, and infected characters biding time before the inevitable. But directors Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke are clearly gunning for more than a headshot-laden thrill-fest, harnessing its eco-minded plot to express an uncharacteristically humane, subdued vision of a post-apocalypse.

Based on their 2013 short film, Cargo isn’t totally free of narrative stretch marks, with some of its intriguing world-building elements, including references to fracking and land exploitation, coming off slightly under-imagined. Likewise, Anthony Hayes’ abusive, survivalist kook is much too easy and hackneyed a source of antagonism. However, the filmmakers’ sensitivity to the disenfranchisement of the Aboriginal people, seen through the eyes of a young Indigenous girl named Thoomi (terrific newcomer Simone Landers), and a deftly judged use of Martin Freeman’s innately warm, likeable everyman presence, give Cargo a well-earned depth of poignancy lacking in most other examples of the genre. Despite some stunning cinematography that conveys the Outback’s disquieting majesty, the film’s scaled-back character focus finds an ideal home on Netflix.Hide


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The Press Reviews

  • This familiar saga eschews jolting scares for survival-esque (and dark-heart-of-man) thrills, relying largely on Freeman's compelling lead turn to set it apart from the genre. Full Review

  • The Australian setting brings a fresh, and epic, quality to this now done-to-death genre, and the directors introduce a few nice new kinks to the zombie mythology. Full Review

  • Co-directors Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke (the latter of whom wrote the screenplay) sacrifice some tension with their more character-based approach, but the cumulative effect is emotionally powerful. Full Review

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