After an epidemic spread all over Australia, a father searches for someone willing to protect his daughter. – (Source)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82% (Critics) / 69% (Audience)
MetaScore: 65 – Generally favorable reviews
Directed By: Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke
Written By: Yolanda Ramke
Starring: Martin Freeman, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter
CARGO is probably the most Romero-esque zombie film since George Romero‘s early works. This film touches on all of the subjects that the best of Romero would touch upon and does so in a way that doesn’t feel derivative or heavy-handed. We get racial and social commentary mixed with some truly emotionally powerful scenes all set to a beautiful backdrop of Australia’s natural beauty.
And added to all of that audiences are given a story that we can rightly guestimate exactly where it is going but that knowledge never diminishes how moving the movie we are watching ends up being or just how invested you become in the outcome of these character’s journey. The tag team directing of Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke really impresses here.
Also impressive was Martin Freeman in a role that saw him do a lot of the heavy lifting as he was in nearly every scene and he rises to the challenge. As a man who is on running out of time before becoming one of the infected zombie hordes, Freeman brings so much weariness coupled with a steely desperate determination to shepherd his infant child to some sort of safe haven before he becomes a danger to her. It is a wonderful performance that is somehow powerful and understated at the same time.
I would have liked to have spent more time with the Aboriginal hunting party that we were shown glimpses of as they were exterminating the infected. The scenes we got of them were a bit too scattershot for my tastes and I would have loved to see more of them and the community they came from.
The final phase of the infected is one of the more gross looking make-up effects I have seen in quite a while. It’s like the body starts leaking ear wax from all it’s orifices and it looks just as disgusting as it sounds.
Final Verdict: CARGO does something that very few movies in the zombie genre are capable of doing and that is pack an emotional wallop thanks to great direction and wonderful performances from its cast especially Martin Freeman. I can’t recommend it enough.