CARGO Movie Review (AFI FEST 2010)
While I wasn’t able to see all the movies I would have liked to, the first film I saw at AFI FEST 2010 was CARGO. Now an interesting fact about Cargo is that it is the first Sci-Fi movie from Switzerland, which obviously puts a lot of pressure on it, especially since it took almost 10 years to make. I had actually wanted to see Cargo for some time and was quite anxious to see if the result lived up to the hype. And I am happy to say it did not disappoint.
Cargo, directed by Ivan Engler, is set in year 2267 when the earth is no longer habitable. Most of the remaining human population lives in packed up space stations waiting and hoping they will eventually be able to go to RHEA, a green Arcadian planet five light years from Earth. That’s where we meet our protagonist, Laura (Anna Katharina Schwabroh), a young doctor who takes an 8-year job on the cargo ship Kassadra, in hopes of saving enough money to join her sister on RHEA. Unfortunately, as they near their destination, Laura, while on watch duty, realizes that they might not be alone on the ship, but even worse, that they might be heading in a different destination than they expected.
The set up for Cargo is not necessarily the most original one, yet it is able to deliver quite a good story and most importantly a good ending. Where a lot of sci-fi movies fail because the resolution of the mystery is no where near as good as the hype, Cargo provides a satisfactory, even well thought-out denouement. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some plot holes, but nothing that prevented me from enjoying the movie fully.
What impressed me the most about Cargo, is that it was able to do with a small budget what few big budget sci-fi movies ever achieve. If I were to compare Cargo to another movie, I would say that the feel of it reminded me a bit of Moon with Sam Rockwell. While the two stories are pretty different, the pace and look of it is pretty similar.
The main actress in Cargo, Anna Katharina Schwabroh, really shines. She is subtle, yet emotes a lot. She really lets you live the film through her and you almost feel like you are there with her. Martin Rapold, who plays Samuel Decker, the air marshall, also delivers quite a performance. Both of them complement each other perfectly.
Overall, I really enjoyed Cargo, regardless of what the budget was or how long it took to make. The acting was good and the story was compelling, what more can I ask? I would definitely recommend you see Cargo if you ever get the chance, especially if you are a sci-fi fan. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that the movie will be released in theaters. That said if you really want to see the movie, you can always get it on DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon (I also found it on the German Amazon or French Amazon, which seem to have more options.)
And to conclude, I will leave you with the trailer for Cargo, enjoy!