Director: Clive Gordon
Screenwriters: Paul Laverty

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


This taut, cerebral thriller by award-winning documentary filmmaker Clive Gordon showcases an outstanding cast and a smart, multilayered screenplay. In this intensely crafted drama, a young backpacker, Chris (Daniel Bruhl), is traveling around Africa when he gets into trouble, loses his passport, and decides to stow away aboard a rusty cargo ship to flee the local police and get back to Europe. Discovered shortly after putting to sea, he quickly realizes that this is no ordinary voyage: it features a crew of hopeless, possibly even deranged, men; a mysteriously inscrutable captain (Peter Mullan), who holds absolute sway over the inhabitants of this insular floating isle; and a ship that seems to be burdened by untold secrets.

Having innocently moved from the frying pan to the fire, Chris faces a resentful, threatened, and threatening crew, whose only human face is the chef (Luis Tosar). Chris must struggle to survive in a world where moral order and indeed life and death are at the whim of one man.

Beautifully shot and filled with exemplary performances, Cargo is both a tale of survival and a quest for truth. This contemporary voyage, with its Joseph Conrad-like exploration of the dilemmas of individual choice, is a strikingly relevant drama for our times.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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