While it mightn’t be 28 Days Later, Cargo is an Australian zombie film with bite. It’s a survival story with a difference.
Andy (Martin Freeman) and Kay (Suzie Porter) are holed up on a houseboat with their one-year-old daughter Rosie, but are fast running out of food. Something is keeping Andy from going ashore. All that changes when their peaceful river existence is shattered by a violent attack. Left with no choice, Andy, Kay and Rosie take to solid ground to seek help. The family’s predicament quickly goes from bad to worse and Andy is caught in a seemingly no-win situation. Along the way they encounter a number of characters – some friendly and others hostile. A parallel plotline concerns Thoomi (Simone Landers), a young Indigenous girl trying to save her father.
The initial set-up is compelling, as we know something is amiss, but don’t understand just what. A tranquil ride along a river in remote territory is about to turn very nasty. The setting is magnificent and the cinematography outstanding. Geoffrey Simpson (Sleeping Beauty) serves as director of photography.
Freeman (Black Panther) is likeable as the pragmatic Andy. I also liked the introduction of a series of new characters as the movie unfolded. At times though I wanted a bit more to be happening. Also, I have a couple of major queries regarding plot points. Without wishing to spoil anything, one concerns feeding the infant and the other is the final scene, which – to me – took the narrative into the realm of romanticism.
Still, for the most part I found Cargo an engaging and entertaining ride.
Director: Yolanda Ramke, Ben Howling
Cast: Martin Freeman, Suzie Porter, Simone Landers
Release Date: 17 May 2018
Rating: MA 15+
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television