With the news that the Walking Dead will be losing not only Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes this upcoming Season 9, but also Lauren Cohen's Maggie, some fans may be wondering if this show can continue with the same character driven stories that motivated early viewers. (Who can forget that nearly zombie-less second season on the farm?) The good news is, Netflix has a film that just might satiate that human driven zombie drama hole in your soul in the form of Cargo.
Released in October 2017, Cargo is a feature film adaptation of a short film of the same name from Tropfest Australia 2013. The premise is simple enough, a man must overcome his bite in order to save his infant baby. But what truly sets this story apart is the character narratives. While zombies are the backdrop upon which this drama plays out, it is much more about love, family, and the long history of the Aboriginals in Australia.
Martin Freeman gives perhaps his least Martin Freeman-esque performance in this film, with none of the usual face or head twitches associated with some of his more popular characters. And instead, he plays a steady father, who bemoans the horrors around him, especially those of his fellow humans. His two primary costars, the little infant playing his daughter Rosie and the young Simone Landers, as Thoomi, the spiritual and human guide necessary to help Freeman save his daughter, further flesh-out this world and create an endearing and calm family dynamic, amidst all the horror. Freeman's character certainly stands as a beacon of hope, meeting few others who share it. Most notably, however, are the two women he encounters, who both provide small comforts, and a view at humanity that might not be as hopeless as the men would have use believe.
Making it distinct from the short-film, this one is very much rooted in the rich culture of Aboriginal Australians, they being the only people prepared for the zombie outbreak, and the only ones who seem able to cope and maintain a pure existence within it. Where the original short film has the father simply on his way to a surviving settlement, the feature has the small band on their way to safety, likely within the painted confines of the Aboriginal community.
So if you find yourself wanting a human drama, with a side order of zombies, this is certainly the film for you. Or if you generally find yourself uninterested in the genre, this might be the perfect meeting ground. With incredible performances by all involved, sweeping Australian landscapes, celebrations of culture, and just a few, occasional zombies, this film certainly is precious cargo.
If you're interested in watching the short-film first (which we highly recommend), here it is: Cargo.