By Elektra Macdonald
CARGO (2017) | MA 15+ | Drama/Horror/Sci-Fi | 1hr 45mins Director: Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke Stars: Martin Freeman, Susie Porter, David Gulpilil, Simone Landers, Kris McQuade, Anthony Hayes, Caren Pistorius, Natasha Wanganeen, Bruce R. Carter
At some undefined moment in the near Australian future, a pandemic has decimated much of the population. Once infected, the person has 48 hours before they lose themselves to the disease. Andy (Freeman) and Kay (Porter) are on the run, trying to reach less populated areas of inland Australia with their infant daughter Rosie, when tragedy strikes. With the clock running down, Andy and young indigenous girl Thoomi (Landers), must find the safest place and hands to entrust his baby, all the while fighting off ruthless survivors and the infected in this dystopian outback, with Andy battling to keep his humanity as long as possible.
A zombie movie with a difference, this is a fresh take on an overrun genre, so to speak. The pacing is slower, the scares fewer, the pandemic itself thoughtfully reworked. There is some welcome social commentary about colonial history in there too. I, for one, love the concept of Australia’s First Peoples getting their country back, with old knowledge being the way forward. It feels like a timely metaphor where we’re the pandemic. A nice cameo from David Gulpilil as The Clever Man and stunning outback scenes also make the movie shine. Solid performances all round, especially from Freeman, Landers and that cute baby (or babies, as the case is), Cargo is no masterpiece but it’s worth a gander. Available on Netflix or to rent. 7/10