Martin Freeman in Cargo (2017)The newest Netflix original film “Cargo” is a dramatic thriller taking place in a diseased Australia. To start, the film shows us the seemingly healthy family, intercut with shots of a young girl feeding raw meat to something in a hole. The film focuses on a father’s struggle to get his daughter to safety after her mother passes. As Andy struggles to survive with his daughter, he forms a bond with Josie, a young girl whose father previously became ill. The film stars Martin Freeman (Andy), Susie Porter (Kay), and Simone Landers (Thoomi).

It’s a zombie flick but is very much unlike most zombie films out there like “28 Weeks Later” or an average episode of “The Walking Dead”. “Cargo” focuses much less on action and blood and seems to take a more humanistic and meaningful turn. The film focuses on the theme of family and what it takes to keep your family safe. The weight we carry on our shoulder for our children can feel as heavy as precious cargo aboard a ship. The message here is deeper than expected. Although, that isn’t to stay there aren’t any intense scenes or action as we get plenty of short chase scenes and a few bloody murders to satisfy the true zombie fans.

However, “Cargo” is far from perfect. The first act of the film drags quite a bit and it takes way too much time getting us into the story. From there, the pacing is a bit strange and most of the film seems quite slow, with some intense scenes thrown in the mix.

The biggest flaw with the film however is the emotional disconnect. From the beginning, Andy’s chemistry with his wife doesn’t flow well and seems very much out of place, refusing to convince the audience that they’re truly married. This is likely due to the directing, although Martin Freeman’s performance here is somewhat to blame as well. Freeman has given plenty of great performances in his career. However, this one falls on the opposite end. It isn’t the fact that he wasn’t convincing enough. It is more about how his performance makes us feel about Andy’s relationships with his loved ones.

“Cargo” is very redeemable however as it gives us plenty to be thankful for. It attempts to add something different and meaningful to what is usually just a mindless and violent genre (not that there is anything wrong with that). It also gives us a unique ending, and a well-directed one as well. While there are many ups and downs with this one, there is plenty for everyone to enjoy and for everyone to hate.

Grade: C+

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