Time got the better of me today, so instead of reviewing a feature film, I will be reviewing one of my favorite short films.
Cargo is a 7 minute film that really packs a punch. The premise is this: Stranded in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, a man sets in motion an unlikely plan to protect his precious daughter. The film was a finalist in Tropfest Australia 2013, and for very good reason.
The film starts out be thrusting you into the middle of things, just as the protagonist is waking up from unconsciousness. The handheld camera is trying to focus, and in the blurred background you can see the shape of a woman. As the protagonist comes to, the audience realizes that she’s a zombie. Although it’s not explicitly said, it can be assumed that the woman was his wife. After escaping the car, our protagonist runs to the backseat for reasons unknown while his dead wife lashes out toward him. Cue title.
I feel like the opening to this film is very powerful. The cinematography really sticks with me, and I actually think it’s some of the best cinematography throughout the film. This isn’t to say that the rest is bad, but this scene really gave a good opportunity for the filmmakers to do something creative, and they really delivered. Plus, I’m a sucker for good handheld cinematography.
The film has very little dialogue. I almost thought there was none, but there is a tiny part in the beginning where the protagonist speaks. Since there is so little dialogue, it was very important for the actors to deliver the emotion physically. For the most part, I think they did a pretty good job. It’s a very powerful screenplay. The idea behind it is emotional enough in itself.
The music is minimal, but it cranks up the emotion right when it needs to. When the music picks up at the end, it’s sad, but at the same time hopeful and full of pride, sympathy, love. I teared up while watching it again for this review, not gonna lie.
Since I have to be objective, I will say that one of the more negative things about the film would be the make up, but it was a short film with a small budget, so you can’t really fault them for that. They did a good job with what they had.
Also, in the end, when more characters are introduced, it was slightly awkward because I feel like they removed all audio from their source video and put in ambient noise in post. This would have been perfectly fine, but it just seems a little odd because of one particular character who is most definitely making noise, but we don’t hear it. This wouldn’t have been as odd if the rest of the film had followed the same format, but we hear the noise that the protagonist makes. This is a very minor problem I had though, and it doesn’t really affect how powerful the final scene is.
I definitely do recommend Cargo. I recommend it so much that I’m going to insert a link to it within this review.