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Cargo

Cargo (2009) Movie Poster
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Switzerland  •    •  112m  •    •  Directed by: Ivan Engler, Ralph Etter.  •  Starring: Anna Katharina Schwabroh, Martin Rapold, Regula Grauwiller, Yangzom Brauen, Pierre Semmler, Claude-Oliver Rudolph, Michael Finger, Gilles Tschudi, Maria Boettner, Noa Strupler, Diego Studer, Vanessa Studer, Christina Tchernychova.  •  Music by: Fredrik Strömberg.
        A woman traveling through deep space discovers a secret with deadly implications in this Swiss sci-fi drama. It's the year 2267, and Earth's environment is near the point of total collapse. Many have fled the Earth to live on Rhea, a beautiful planet with an atmosphere and ecosystem similar to our own, but it's in a distant solar system and travel there is expensive. Laura Portmann (Anna-Katharina Schwabroh) is a doctor trying to raise the money to relocate to Rhea, where her sister is already living; she takes a job with Kuiper Enterprises aboard the Kassandra, a battered space freighter making a run to a far away space station. It takes eight years to travel from Earth to the space station, and most of the crew spends their time frozen in artificial hibernation, as crewmen taking turns working an eight and a half month shift while conscious. As Portmann watches over the ship alongside security marshal Samuel Decker (Martin Rapold), who protects the ship from technophobic terrorists, she is convinced something is alive and making trouble in the Kassandra's cargo hold, and becomes concerned enough to wake Captain Lacroix (Pierre Semmler) and his men from their artificial slumber. While Lacroix is certain Portmann simply has an overactive imagination, in time it's revealed someone on board the Kassandra possesses a dangerous secret.

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Review:

Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
Image from: Cargo (2009)
CGI technology has made almost anything possible in sci-fi, and yet this genre is still in the hands of hijackers who insist on re-hashing the same daft clichés: either it's monsters or it's freedom-fighters saving the galaxy or Earth. I would like to finally see some real sci-fi, something intelligent, unique and awe-inspiring. Until then, I'll just have to watch movies like this one that look nice but are lacking in content.

As with "Pandorum", the mistake was made of turning the early portion of the movie into a far too dark, far too depressing black hole. By the time some of the incessant dark finally evaporated, I was ready to slit my wrists. Fortunately, just as my razor-blade was nearing the main artery on my left hand, someone turned the lights on. It wasn't much light, but enough to recognize the cast.

Watching the darker parts of "Cargo", especially the first half-hour, is like trying to look inside a small opening of an empty can, while standing inside a barely-lit room in the middle of a Finish Winter. The atmosphere in this movie makes "Alien" look like "The Sound of Music". Yes, movie, we get it, the future is bleak and everyone is unhappy! On the other hand, if this future mankind still has enough money to send such enormous "cans of darkness" into far reaches of space, then surely they will have enough dough to buy a couple of lamps to light up the bloody floating thing from the inside.

And there should certainly be enough money for TWO people to share shifts at a time. I find it utterly absurd that only one person guards the ship while the rest of the crew rest in frozen slumber. Have you seen the atmosphere in that ship??? Any normal human being would commit hara-kiri if faced with 8 months of solitude in such a badly-lit can. That's right, 8-month shifts. Basic Psychology 101, which any child even should be at least somewhat familiar with, suggests that the amount of food rations you save by freezing one additional person is nothing compared to the risk you undertake by leaving one person alone, without any real human contact, in such a gloomy environment. Especially a newcomer to the job such as Portmann. What kind of company entrusts such a ridiculously expensive ship, and such a supposedly important mission, to the care of a fresh-faced, gullible novice such as her - for an entire 8 months? Makes little sense.

I envy anyone who DOESN'T understand the German language, because then you can't easily notice how bad most German actors are. The way they utter their lines is often robotic, unconvincing, too forced, unnatural, basically lame. On the other hand, the Germans have exploited the benefits of CGI well. The movie does look like it's on a high budget, very professional, almost Hollywood-like. (Although that today might not be such a compliment anymore.) Unfortunately, imitating Hollywood is a double-edged sword, so you also adopt some of its more annoying habits such as astronauts that behave like teens and look like nu-metal-band bassists: I am talking of course about that bald, goatee-wearing putz who serves as some kind of a buffoonerish dancing monkey comic-relief. James Cameron was perhaps the pioneer in this, giving us a set of space marines in "Aliens" that acted and talked like mongoloids, not like actual professional soldiers. Why the puerile malarkey? Can't we have ONE set of movie astronauts that behave like level-headed adults? At least that was a simple monster flick, so it could be forgiven, but what is the excuse here? "Cargo" has an agenda, an environmental message to convey (admittedly a corny one), so it has no excuses dabbling in trashy characters.

The terrorist footage shown early on offers us a bunch of dilettante-looking bozos playing hide-and-seek with the government. Do they even remotely appear as if though they could sabotage anything, much less a bunch of expensive cargo ships? Not really. And yet, as it turns out, not only are these silly fist-pumping terrorists well-organized, but also RIGHT. The writer should have opted for a secret organization, rather than a gung-ho, very public, clown-like terrorist organization of loud malcontents. That would have made the movie more believable. I mean, it's bad enough they blatantly stole the main premise from "The Matrix". Then there is all that nonsense related to the composition of the crew. Surely a corporation as powerful as Kuiper would hire a more intelligent, more competent crew. The fact that a terrorist disguised as a Federal Marshall snuck in aboard only makes things cheesier.

The last half-hour is visually very nice (we're finally outside of the ship) but with a certain degree of questionable nonsense, which includes the goatee guy and his pal (who are closer to Beavis & Butthead than a pair of actual astronauts) who for some unfathomable reason decide to try and sneak away to the planet Rhea. Weren't they told already that the planet's success-story was a sham? Duh.


Review by fedor8 from the Internet Movie Database.