25 January 2006 | wmjaho
One Depressing Voyage
I think the reason the Sundance organizers like dark depressing movies is that no one else does. You can make a rotten comedy and it can still do $30 million at the box office. But if you're going to go the slow downer route, you'd better have A Beautiful Mind, or something like it, or you're destined for straight to DVD. And if Sundance is intending to encourage an outlet for all forms of expression, I suppose that's a worthy objective. Just don't plan on enjoying some of the movies.
Cargo is about a ship leaving Africa for Europe and a young man (Daniel Bruhl) who stows away. It is clear from the get-go that this is a mysterious voyage, with exotic birds and rough-looking sailors with secrets and mysterious searches and who knows what's going on. I certainly didn't. It all gets cleared up in the end, which proves to be anticlimactic. In fact, by the end of the movie I hardly cared.
Listening to the Q&A at Sundance I began to understand why. This was a script that took a meandering course to completion, often pausing at many forks in the road to production. Fantasy or reality? Nice guy or not? Happy ending or sad? Somehow, these decisions were made and as a result Cargo feels less like a director's vision than it does a project by committee.
I didn't really know or care about any of the characters. And with all the eeriness of the set-up, I was expecting something more.