“… proof of why you shouldn’t judge a movie by its poster.”
They say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but thats exactly what I find myself doing a majority of the time. And not just books either, but movies as well. For instance the other day I got an email from Netflix. “Jacob, we just added a movie you might like” was the subject line, and when I opened it up I saw an amazing poster for a film called Cargo. The poster features a very grizzled Martin Freeman with a baby on his back, and the entire thing is desaturated with an orange tint so you know it’s going to be post-apocalyptic. Instantly I knew I had to watch this movie, and that’s exactly why we are warned to never judge a book by its cover.
So what’s wrong with Cargo? Most things. First of all I want to say that the premise of the movie is great. A father travelling a post-apocalyptic landscape with his infant daughter is an amazing idea. The problem is that the idea is just that: an idea. In order to turn an idea into a feature film you need a lot of other ideas as well. Unfortunately Cargo only had the one. What I’m trying to get at is that Cargo is fucking boring. The premise is understood when you read the synopsis that Netflix gives you, and then the first thirty minutes of the movie is waiting patiently until that premise actually takes hold. Then as soon as that happens, the remaining hour of the film is waiting for it to be over. There was nothing in the middle to pad it out. Well, that’s not exactly true. Cargo did feature quite a few interesting ideas about the apocalypse, but once again these were few and far between. Cargo just needed more.
On the other hand the performances in Cargo were great! But then back on the first hand the actors really weren’t given a lot to work with. Martin Freeman did a great job conveying the emotional journey that his character has to go on, but after a while you start to sense a pattern and those scenes start to lose meaning. The rest of the cast did a good job of conveying just how bleak this scenario is, but once again there wasn’t much substance for them to dig into. It was just like “I’m sad” over and over and over again. Just like the plot of the movie (or lack thereof) these performances had to be stretched paper-thin to accommodate the film’s feature length runtime.
Overall Cargo is proof of why you shouldn’t judge a movie by its poster. With a solid premise for a short film, Cargo manages to beat a single idea down so much within two hours that by the end you are begging for the sweet release of death. Give me two days and I could turn Cargo into something a little easier to stomach; granted it would only be 30 minutes long.
I give Cargo a C