Cargo written by Yolanda Ramke, who co-directed with Ben Howling

Starring Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, Susie Porter, Caren Pistorius & Natasha Wanganeen

Drama/ Thriller

A catastrophic epidemic envelopes Australia, as a man takes desperate measures to keep his family alive in their race across the outback.

OK, I know what you’re thinking – ANOTHER ZOMBIE FILM? REALLY?!

I thought the same thing myself when browsing through Netflix’s latest offerings, until I saw Martin Freeman’s face on the thumbnail. I’d been in the middle of a Sherlock binge and this had reinforced my faith in him as a solid actor with a great face for camera. So I took the bait…

I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen this yet so I’m just going to tell you about the emotions being conveyed on screen, and some interesting apocalyptic anarchy – that could easily be a reality for society should such an event occur. We get a feel for our main character, Andy (Martin Freeman) right from the beginning. A resourceful and loving husband, a slightly uncertain but doting father, with a traumatized, melancholic devastation that hangs over him like a dark cloud despite his attempts to keep their spirits up.

A real trooper.

Fantastic performance from newcomer Simone Landers, playing the part of Thoomi – a young tribal girl who strays from her clan. She accompanies our adventurers on their hopeful trek through the wilderness. A quiet, thoughtful character, with her own heavy cross to bear – eager to help but also faced with concern for her own family’s well being.

As our heroes trudge further into uncertainty, we get glimpses of lawless chaos, some pretty serious violations of human rights and an overhanging intensity that keeps you right on the edge of your seat; unsure with whom – or what their next encounter may be….

Interesting fact about this film – it wasn’t always a feature! That’s right! Ramke & Howling released a 7.05 minute short film back in 2013. Upon entering several film fests and competitions, getting Cargo the short film a multitude of screenings, they found themselves not only winning the Best Editing Award but were also chosen for the Gateway LA Script Development Program which in turn earned them the opportunity to develop the full length feature script they’d submitted with some sweet financial support and incredible networking opportunities provided by the organizers.

I think this gives all us budding filmmakers a bit of hope for the future. The original short film was also extremely well done, so if you’ve got a few minutes – check it out here:

Not bad…not bad at all!

The Look

Both films had exceptional makeup. It’s not a slasher flick so don’t expect a bloodbath, but the incredible use of prosthetics, particularly in cases of injury, was certainly well received.


The Sound

Excellent Sound Design and Spellbinding Soundtrack! Mr. Daniel Rankine P.K.A. Trials and companions provide a combination of sensations with their music, ranging from fear, to hope, to despair and really adds the desolate beauty of our protagonist’s landscape. With regards to Mr. Liam Egan on sound design, again, no spoilers, but let’s just say you’ll be impressed by the noises he provides throughout.



The Verdict

Of course, some scenes and characters were not included in the original short version. But both make solid, standalone films.

My opinion? I was more impressed than I thought I’d be…

I’m usually pretty skeptical about these types of films, but once it was on – I was in!

My Score? For the feature – I’m giving it an 8 Star rating.

Netflix’s Cargo is a new take on an old idea with a strong payoff and fantastic twist!

Really great work!

For the Short – I’m giving it a well deserved 9 Stars.

I’ve watched a LOT of short films, and having worked on quite a few myself, I know how difficult it can be to make a short film of high quality. This is, hands down, one of the best shorts I’ve seen in about 3 years. Well done!