C: Cargo (Engler and Etter, 2009)

Released: 2009
Runtime: 112 minutes
Directors: Ivan Engler and Ralph Etter
Genre: Sci-fi
Starring: Anna Katharina Schwabroh, Martin Rapold, Regula Grauwiller

So, much like yesterday, the trailer I’ve found for Cargo is in German but with English subtitles – and also it appears to be advertising watches in some way? I don’t even know, but it was the best trailer I could find, haha.

Aaand the summary from IMDBYear 2267. The ecosystem of Earth has been destroyed and mankind is forced to live in orbit. The story of CARGO takes place on the derelict spaceship KASSANDRA on its 8 year journey to a remote freight-station in deep space…

Pretty vague, I know, but it was the only one I could find that wasn’t riddled with spoilers. This film… it’s interesting. I’ll go onto my (lightly spoilered) opinions and, yeah, we’ll see how this goes:

Things I liked:

  • it’s got an interesting twist halfway through. The whole thing begins a little like I expected (it feels a bit like a sci-fi/horror film at first); there’s something on the ship with them and it’s creepy – but it takes a different turn and that’s interesting.
  • Laura is a pretty good main character. When the others suggest splitting up, she voices her concerns. She stands her ground when she needs to. She isn’t all that good at fighting, but she’s a doctor – she doesn’t need to be. She doesn’t spend her time standing around crying. I do genuinely like her and I like that it’s her we’re following.
  • I like some of the peeks into the future we get; there’s a mix of languages and people and although we don’t see much of this because most of the film takes place on the cargo ship, there’s enough to hint at something bigger.

Things I didn’t like:

  • I just kind of got a little bored with this. I think it’s the way it’s shot, maybe, because there are long periods of time where it’s quiet and not much seems to be happening and I kind of zoned out a little. Plus, it is quite confusing – I don’t know if that’s the language or the fact that it’s visually a very dark film, but I had to watch it twice in the end and then read a synopsis to make sure I understood everything (I didn’t). It didn’t fully engage me the whole time; and since it’s less than two hours long, it should have.
  • we needed more information on the main players in the film; Laura’s motivations and actions are clear, but there are shady organisations behind it and the bad guys – and there just could have been more to tie it together.

So yeah, I’m perhaps not the biggest fan of this film. Nothing really stood out to me as a spectacular moment or quote, unlike the previous two films and I’m not really sure why. There’s nothing really wrong with this film and I don’t dislike it – I watched it twice, in the end, to be sure – I just don’t really like it much either. It feels a little flat to me. Like I said, maybe it’s a language issue, or maybe it’s this genre (though I have watched a lot of sci-fi in the past), or maybe I just need to watch it with a more cinematic atmosphere. I don’t know.

I think I’d give it 5/10. It’s not a film I’m going to spend time thinking about and it probably isn’t one I’ll rewatch; but like I said, it’s not terrible. Laura’s character especially saves it from a much lower rating – she is actually written with a decent head on her shoulders, which is rare, especially in sci-fi. I like her and her motivations. It’s just a shame they had to be explored in this film with all these other characters.

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