But, by focusing so much on the characters, the screenplay leaves its unique setting in a tough position. How the Post Death Transition Services work, or was established, is brushed aside, which leaves questions. One of the things Yuvishika does that Prahastha doesn’t is have an extensive social media presence. So, the residents of our planet are aware of these rakshasas and what they do? Or is this meant to be the demon’s world where they are famous? That is the most non-essential thread I could pull and still get my point across.
But, why do they need to be in space to collect the souls? How do they know when a person is about to die? Yes, they receive a list, but who generates it? And there are many more elements of the setting that just lack logic. But, as I said before, Cargo is better off when you aren’t doing these thought experiments. I only do it so that my rating at the end will have context. Otherwise, this review would be read as all praise, and the score would not seem to fit.
“…capably reins all the tones into one seamless whole.”
One of the reasons the viewer will be so instantly hooked into the film, and therefore not overthinking it is the acting. As the stoic Prahastha, Massey is quite good. His tactical, almost robotic way of speaking to his cargo speaks volumes to how his time on the ship has distanced him from social etiquette. Tripathi is sweet and endearing as Yuvishika. When she asks to take a picture of their dinner, her love of the job, and her wanting to make a good impression on her new partner, comes across authentically.
Kadav’s writing takes an intimate approach, but her directing is epic. The CGI used to bring outer space, and the vessel trekking through it to life is reasonably detailed and textured. She capably reins all the tones into one seamless whole. At roughly 2-hours, Cargo moves at a brisk pace and never slows down with any pointless sequences.
Cargo is set in a unique world, though it was not thought all the way through. This makes some plotholes that will frustrate some viewers. But, if you can stick with, you’ll be treated to a different sort of sci-fi drama with a lot on its mind.
Cargo was scheduled to screen at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival.
"…a different sort of sci-fi drama with a lot on its mind."