02nd Jan2019

‘[Cargo]’ Review

by Chris Thomas

Stars: Ron Thompson, Mark Wood, Matthew Rosvally, Corbin Timbrook, Danika Fields, Eliot, J.C. Macek III, Jose Rosete | Written and Directed by James Dylan


The feature debut of director James Dylan, [Cargo] sees Ron Thompson star as Anthony Peterson, a businessman with a dark past that finds himself incarcerated by unknown assailants and with only a mobile phone must raise one million pounds to prevent the death of him and his wife.

[Cargo] borrows heavily from recent hits Buried and Locke, although it leans heavily on the latter as the relationships between Peterson and his family and friends fall under the microscope. With just a sole actor to focus on, the success of this film hinges on a strong lead performance and tight script in order to keep the tension ratcheted and keep the viewer gripped. However a powerhouse performance from Thompson, this is not. We have a man who reacts to the news that his wife has been kidnapped in the same way as if told she had gone out for a pint of milk. As the stakes rise and double crosses stack up, his portrayal never waivers from mild indifference to slightly more mild indifference.

The supporting players on the other end of the phone do nothing to help carry the load, Tom (Mark Wood) as Peterson’s right-hand man aims to deliver something veering from maniacal to comedic however comes across as intensely irritating. Meanwhile, Peterson’s estranged son Evan (Matthew Rosvally) appears to have decided that anger is best displayed by shouting with as little inflection as possible.

So, with the performances unable to support the film then maybe the script stands up on its own in order to ensure that we our on the edge of our seats for the entire eighty minutes. This is a piece of work that appears to have been untouched after the first draft without any clear idea as to what Dylan wanted to achieve.

We begin with a familiar thriller premise, family in danger with the kidnapper demanding a ransom, so far… so normal. As we move briskly along, we find out that he has skeletons in the closet, everything standard so far before things start to unravel.

Peterson begins to hallucinate, holding conversations with his deceased partner Sully (Corbin Timbrook) before, for no reason at all finding out that the container he has been trapped in has been completely electrified. OK, so we find ourselves in familiar Saw territory including a tooth removal scene that “Jigsaw” would be embarrassed by, before a leftfield plot choice has Tom on the line botching a jewellery store robbery to make up the remaining ransom money. I won’t even get started on the awful overdose plot threat or odd mercenary revenge storyline.

However, the one thing that grates through the entire of [Cargo] is the need for constant narration from the person on the other end of the line. I know that film makers are taught to show don’t tell, which is difficult with the plot device used. However, not every action has to be described in such detail and the director’s need to fill every silence result in needless chatter.

So, in summary whilst the original premise held much potential, this is one piece of cargo that I wouldn’t care if it got lost in transit.

[Cargo] is out now on DVD and Digital from Wild Eye Releasing.


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