Cargo (2009) Review

Cargo 2267 and the earth is uninhabitable due to inevitable ecological collapse. The people left alive eke out an unjoyous overcrowded existence on space stations orbiting the pitiful planet.
All those that is, except the lucky or rich few who have made it to the terraformed paradise that is the distantcargo cover planet ‘Rhea’. Laura Portmann (Anna-Katharina Schwabroh) dreams of Rhea and seeing her sister again, but to get to her she needs money and the only way to get it is to sign on to a mission on a broken down cargo ship headed for an eight year flight to nowhere.

Spending most of the journey in hyper-sleep on an automated ship, Laura is disturbed by strange noises and makes a gruesome discover which prompts her to wake the rest of the crew to help her investigate.

Could the anti-technology terrorist group the “Machine Strikers” be hunting them down to prove their cause, or is it someone from inside the crew with an ulterior motive? As the death toll rises Laura makes some shocking discoveries about the cargo of the ship and its true mission that will change the future of the human race.

Directed by newcomers Ralph Etter and Ivan Engler, who also co-wrote it, Cargo is a science fiction film with a good dose of thriller tension and horror movie moments.

Billed as Switzerland’s first science fiction film and entirely in German, the production values are very high with some special effects rivaling any Hollywood blockbuster.

Reminiscent of the recently reviewed Pandorum, Cargo swaps the the action and fight scenes for a more cerebral storyline and plenty of creeping tension.

cargo 2009 cargo movie

It also takes elements from Sunshine, Solaris, Alien, 2001, The Matrix and Event Horizon in its look, style and plot however it is well directed throughout.

Although not overly original Cargo is exceedingly watchable thanks to an excellent cast, especially Schwarbroh and the reverently named Samuel Decker played by Martin Rapold. It is in its atmosphere where Cargo excels rarely showing anything but still making the viewer feel tense and on edge at all times.

Cargo is a satisfying slice of Swiss sci-fi with excellent effects and a horror thriller edge that certainly elevates it above other offerings.

Movie Rating: ★

★ ★ ☆ ☆ 

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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1 Comment

  • This movie was a waste of time. It’s basically a rehash of a jumble of visuals and storylines from movies like Bladerunner, The Matrix, Alien, etc. However, stringing them together into something resembling a plot was apparently beyond the director’s powers.

    The visuals are okay. They don’t look fake. You can tell they were on a low budget when they keep re-using the same passage in the ship 15 times. Not enough cash to make a lot of sets, I guess. But that’s fine, all that is forgivable so long as the movie makes some sort of sense. This movie doesn’t.

    It really seems at points that the movie might be heading somewhere. There are hints of a plot. It may be hackneyed, poor people against the evil corporation, that we’ve seen dozens of times before. But hey, that’s a plot. The problem is that it all just breaks down at the end, like the director just decided the movie was long enough and ended it abruptly. It’s not satisfactory in any sense.

    The main character, the girl, might be a good actress. I don’t know German/Swiss actors or actresses, but she shows signs that she might be able to act if she were cast in a different movie. The rest of the actors are just scenery, and bad scenery at that. Nothing is really developed in this movie, it’s like the director just threw in whatever he thought would be a neat idea. “Hey I saw this gimmick in another movie, it was neat, let’s toss it in!” “Hey, I liked that one scene in the Alien, let’s put that in too!” “Oh no, too dark, the characters are unsympathetic, let’s put in a romance!” I shudder to think that real romances in Switzerland or Germany or wherever these guys are from, are actually like this. It seems a caricature of German robotic-ness like you might see on SNL.

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