Saturday 18 April 2015

Film: Cargo (2009)

Cargo is something of a novelty, a Swiss-made SF film with German dialogue translated via sub-titles. Don't let any of that put you off, though, it is worth watching. It is set 250 years from now, with the Earth abandoned as an ecological disaster area and the survivors of humanity living largely squalid lives in a vast orbiting space station, suffering from the activities of anti-technology terrorists. Most people's dream is to win or buy a trip to Rhea, an unspoiled "second Earth" of a planet a few light years away.

A young doctor, Laura Portmann, hopes to move to Rhea to join her sister who won a place there seven years before. To pay the fee she needs to earn more money so takes a job on an interstellar mission to deliver cargo to the unmanned Station 42. Interstellar travel is by huge sub-light-speed spacecraft with the crew spending most of the time in cold sleep, so the round trip will take her eight years, during which the small crew take it in turns to be awake and on duty for eight months at a time.

During Portmann's watch she suspects that there is someone else on board so wakes the rest of the crew. What follows is a tense drama with one revelation after another as the real purpose of their mission and its importance to mankind is gradually uncovered.

The film is atmospheric, both visually and in its soundtrack, with the CGI of the enormous space station and the ship providing an impressive sense of scale. The overall mood is of grim foreboding, emphasised by the rough condition of the old spacecraft, but Cargo is not the horror movie that this setting may suggest. While the plot is a mash-up of elements from other stories the script is intelligent, keeping viewers guessing what is coming next, and the ending has a realistic touch of optimism for the future.

1 comment:

Fred said...

Sounds really interesting. It's been in my Netflix queue for some time now. Perhaps it's time to move it up a bit.