Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cargo (2009)

First let me say that I loves me some good German science fiction. In truth this is only the second German syfi movie I have seen since 'Metropolis' and I did like that black and white silent film from the 1930s so why not take another chance on fine German storytelling after 80 years? Sure they lose their minds twice a century but they can make a decent space thriller without invading their neighbors, right?

The film begins spectacularly with a shot of a huge rotating city in space complete with corporate advertising on every screen both inside and outside the complex. It's cold and dirty inside and overcrowded. Like the grubbiest bus terminal you have never been in.

We are told that the Earth has been evacuated and there are epidemics spreading throughout the station. Anyone who has the means wants to escape to a newly settled planet.

A young doctor named Laura volunteers for cargo ship duty - four years out and four years back - most of the time spent in hibernation. She hopes to make enough money to go to the 'dream' planet of Rhea to be together with her sister and her sister's children.

Nothing seems to work right on the cargo ship she finds herself on. The doors don't go up all the way and there is a constant danger of anti-technology terrorist sabotage. Everything has an air of fascism and decay.

Hibernation is like getting into a tub of jello and having that frozen around you. After three years and eight months Laura is awakened for her eight month shift. It's then that she discovers that things aren't the way they should be.

As I mentioned before the effects are brilliant. The tension the decaying ship creates is very much like that of the first 'Alien' movie. Dimly lit corridors and a sense of isolation. Food paste for nutrition and the daily grind of repetitive tasks would play on anyone's sanity.

The only thing Laura has to give her hope are the video messages she and her sister send to each other. There is a sense of lost time so we have no idea how long the messages are taking to reach each of them. It's seems like a cruel torture to show this lonely trapped person all the things she CAN'T have or CAN'T do. In that way it has a similar vibe to this year's 'Moon'.

I have mentioned how this movie reminds me of other space movies but it is also its own unique creation. The subtitles forced me to pay close attention to everything that was going on and that sucked me into the situation more and more, especially when the isolation is replaced by a mystery involving the CARGO (hence the title) that this ship is carrying.

The effects inside the cargo hold create a sense of scale that make humans appear tiny, insignificant and I think that is what the director wanted to convey. Every sound is terror, every alarm is death.

If you like the 'mystery in space' genre you can't miss this one. Or you can wait until Hollywood remakes it because they will.


Anonymous said...

This sounds really interesting. :)

I'm a new convert to the world of science fiction (TV, books, and movies), and I'm enjoying it a lot! :)

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Strong female lead, cool story...I think you will like it.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Must see this NOW!

Nomad said...

damn governments always transporting stuff that wakesup and kills everybody.
I miss my utopias.

Ricky Shambles said...

I'm in the process of obtaining this as I type. No other details available. Will report back when viewed. Thank you.

Emma said...

Cannot find this with english subtitles... did you watch this in German?

Ricky Shambles said...

Emma, familiarize yourself with torrents and visit You shall be pleased.