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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Anna-Katherina Scwabroh and Martin Rapold
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Available 05 July 2010

The year is 2267. The Earth is said to be largely uninhabitable, with the population crammed into orbiting space stations. Medical doctor Laura Portmann dreams of joining her sister on the paradise world of Rhea, which is continually teased to the populace. But the journey and transfer is hugely expensive, so she takes a job aboard the cargo ship Kassandra on an eight year trip to a space station orbiting Rhea. The crew undergo cryogenic hibernation with each of them being roused separately for an eight month shift. Laura has the final watch, and immediately begins to hear sounds coming from the hold. She also has the sense she is being observed. When she comes across the security chief, Samuel Decker, Laura initially assumes the mystery is solved. However, they are forced to wake the rest of the crew prematurely to search the immense cargo bays, and it is then that they uncover a conspiracy which shakes the human race to its very foundations...

This is a German film with English subtitles. I hadn't come across it before, although it was presented at the 2010 Sci-Fi London Film Festival. It has a slow and steady build-up with visuals to keep you interested, which is probably why it reminded me in format of those early scenes in Alien. I kept expecting some sort of monster to lumber out of hiding and pick off the crew in established fashion, one by one.

Cargo is very much a grounded science fiction with a human interest story - as all the best tales are. The problem is that it will only appeal to a select niche of viewers. There is next to no mainstream accessibility which, although personally is seen as no real hardship, will certainly hinder its path to commercial success. Furthermore, the excruciatingly slow pace caused even my interest to wane at times; and I have more patience than many for a believable and realistic low-key plot.

As mentioned, the visuals are very impressive without ever being over-bearing. The space station from which the cargo ship leaves is stunning, and seems like a somehow merged scene from Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Philip K. Dick's Blade Runner (or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - for purists). Cargo can't be faulted for its sets and down-played special effects, but what is really missing is the excitement, the tension, the suspense. You just don't care about anything that happens.


Ty Power

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