Cargo: Survival of Humanity in a Pandemic

Before You Watch Cargo

Usually, zombie movies don’t appeal to the intellectual audience. The cliché of the virus outbreak and zombies chasing people is overwhelmingly repetitive and boring. World War Z or I Am Legend should be considered as exceptions even though they don’t fall too far from the tree. Cargo is a different experience. A movie that offers a new view of the human situation in a zombie virus outbreak. We can’t even categorize Cargo as a horror movie because it creates more empathy than fear towards zombies as ex-human beings.

After You Watched

Unlike other zombie movies, Cargo doesn’t develop its story on fear of the virus and zombies. It focuses on the love and sacrifice of a family struggling to survive and then a father who tries to save his child before his infection turns him into a zombie; even though he knows he won’t be alive to see her next birthday.

Cargo is unique in creating a new zombie story from a new view. Andy (Martin Freeman) is infected with the virus when his wife bites him. He monitors his status of sickness by a gadget. Time is passing fast for him and he has no choice but to find someone else to take care of his baby daughter – Rosie – after his turning. The race between him and the infection is the main source of suspense in the movie.

Cargo was among more-viewed movies during the pandemic. Coronavirus pandemic created a situation like post-apocalypse movies. What happens in our world is somehow similar to what we see in that kind of movie. It seems the fear, greed, empathy and other humans’ reactions to a crisis will be always the same. Survival instincts will turn some people into wild creatures who are more dangerous than any threat while others try to keep their ethical values.

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Vic (Anthony Hayes) who keeps a young woman – Lorraine (Caren Pistorius) – in his place and gets the sexual advantage of her is an example of people who use a crisis to get what they need. He places healthy humans in a cage as a bait to attract zombies. Then he shoots them and steals their belongings like watches and jewels. Some valuable items that don’t have any value in the world we see in the Cargo.

Andy is on the other side of values. Even though he thinks that leaving Rosie with Vic and Lorraine is a good choice, he can’t accept the way Vic hunts zombies and get the advantage of Lorraine.

Thoomi (Simone Landers) is an indigenous Australian girl in Cargo. Her father is turned into a zombie but she doesn’t give up on him. Instead, she tries to control him and feed him with animals. She has instinctual wisdom rooted in her aboriginal spirituality and plays the role of an observer in the world she lives in. She is not suffering during the pandemic like others and her reactions to what happens around her are not affected by the situation.

Andy as a modern person with his high ethical values gets along with Thoomi as a spiritual person with strong links to nature. They walk the long way to Thoomi’s tribe where Rosie will grow up in safety.

We may be able to look at this ending in a symbolic way. The hopeful ending is the result of a union between modernity (Andy) and spirituality (Thoomi) to save the future (Rosie). This so-called natural spirituality may be the solution for human survival. The belief supported by most indigenous people around the world who think even the current pandemic is the revenge of nature towards the greed of human beings.

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