Cargo: Hard Sci-fi at its best

29 04 2010

Cargo is set in the year 2267. The Earth is riddled with viruses and appears to be uninhabitable. Acid rain scorches the Earth and although not explained throughly, it appears that corporations run the show for the continued existence of humanity!

In the background a group of terrorists make a bleak call to humanity explaining that machines are in control. To make sure each space journey is safe a space marshal accompanies space flights to thwart terrorism.

The only escape from the dying planet is to live on a paradise planet called Rhea. Only the rich can afford to live there. Our protagonist Laura Portmann signs up for a 8 year stint [4 years to Rhea and 4 years back] working as the ship’s doctor on a cargo vessel. At the end of 8 years she’ll have enough money to make it to Rhea after dropping off much needed raw materials and supplies at station 42.

When the ship gets near station 42 to drop off its cargo, the crew is awakened and strange events begin to happen. There’s movement on the ship, shadows and it appears the cargo hold has been compromised. Investigating the ship, the crew suffers some fatalities. When the cargo is inspected, the crew is divided over its significance and where their loyalties really lie!

The pacing of this movie is similar to Solaris. The tension is set up at perhaps too slow a pace for some. About 1/2 way through we’re still wondering who or what is on the ship with them, what the cargo is and why is there a love interest with the doctor. The story comes together in the last 30 minutes when the whole universe’s political, social and financial interests are explained via the various protagonists. This movie is similar to apocalyptic political make-up used in the Blade Runner, Pandorum, Soylent Green, Moon and The Matrix universes.

This movie, made on a budget has tight acting, performances and effects. If you like hard sci-fi, this movie boasts it all. Although not classic, existential or original enough in its own right, the movie is a strong enough in its own right! More for sci-fi fans who like slow developing mysteries than hard paced action.

Watch the trailer here


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