Cargo Review

When people think of the Bahamas what probably first comes to mind are the serene beaches and the feeling of being in paradise. Beneath the beautiful exterior is a dark oppressive life for those who have come to the islands for refuge. That is the premise of Best Ever Film’s Cargo, a dramatic story based on true events that occurred in the Bahamas.

Story

The film begins in the capital of the Bahamas, Nassau. Kevin, a struggling fisherman, is trying to keep his family together. He can’t afford boarding school for his son, his wife Berneice resents him for his past mistakes, and his mother is suffering from dementia. Feeling like he is at the end of his rope, he attempts to gamble to get the money. After losing over $300, a security guard tells him he knows how he can make good money. There is a man named Major who deals with transporting people from the Bahamas to the US. He is looking for a boat and will pay well for its use.

At the same time, we see the story of a single mother named Celianne who works at a local diner. She only brings in $150 a week which is not enough to support her son and herself. Her mother has moved to Miami to provide for them, but can’t bring them with her.

WARNINGThis section of the review contains spoilers for the film. If you do not wish to have the plot spoiled for you, do not click on the spoiler tags below. 

Contents

Troubles in Paradise

On the night of Berneice’s birthday, she blows up at him for their family’s troubles. In the US, Kevin was moving cocaine. Because he didn’t tell the cops his wife wasn’t involved, both took the fall. Because of this, they were deported to the Bahamas which is why she resents him. Driven by the need to keep his head above water, Kevin decides to do it and finds that he is good at transporting people. With a lot of money finally coming in things begin to look up for him. He hires a caretaker for his mother which lessens the burden on Berneice, and he is finally almost able to pay for his son’s tuition.

Things are not going well for Celianne who is struggling to make a life for her and her son. Event he water they take from the nearby well isn’t safe to drink, something that her best friend scoffs at while trying to convince her to leave the Bahamas. However, Celianne feels like her son is doing well in school and doesn’t want to uproot his life.

Forbidden Love

Celianne and Kevin feel an attraction for one another after they meet at the diner, and the two begin having an affair. They go out and he teaches her how to swim after learning that she doesn’t know how. However, during the date, one of the men he transported, Jean, attacks him and almost kills him. Kevin promises to get his money back at him and lashes out a Celianne when she tries to comfort him. After drawing the attention of the cops Major decides he’s too much of a liability and cuts him loose after Kevin begins to question him about Jean’s claim that they were abandoned on an island.

Things quickly begin to spiral out of control for both Kevin and Celianne. After her racist boss calls her stupid, she finally has enough and quits. Because of this, she can’t afford tuition for her son, and he is kicked out of school. After immigration soldiers begin rounding up illegal immigrants in her neighborhood, she decides it’s time to make a break for Miami along with her best friend.

Meanwhile, not being able to pay his mother’s caretaker Mona, Kevin threatens to have her deported and takes her papers once she tries to leave them. He comes up with a plan to steal his wive’s jewelry and blame it on Mona since, as  Haitian, his wife is prejudice against Jamaicans. Berneice finds her jewelry missing and begins to berate Mona who questions why she would steal from them when Kevin has her papers. Kevin tries to downplay the situation and ushers Mona to go on a drive with him. They argue and she gets out of the car after nearly hitting another car. Suddenly, a passing van hits her due to them not seeing her in time. Overcome with guilt, Kevin visits her home and leaves some money with her neighbor for Mona’s children.

Tension Rising

Celianne comes to see Kevin but finds Berneice home instead, who assumes she must be the new caretaker. Kevin comes home and plays along but quickly tries to get Celianne to leave. She tells him that she needs his help to leave the Bahamas and that she is willing to pay him for the transport of her and another group of Haitians. He denies her request at first, but he reconsiders when his wife slaps him after finding out he couldn’t afford the tuition for their son’s school.

His friend Eddie agrees to help him transport the people, and they meet up at Celianne’s house. Celianne brings her son and ten other people with her, one of them being Jean. The trip is long, and Jean throws Celianne’s best friend overboard when it turns out she is sick. Celianne begins to realize her son is also sick, so she tries to conceal it from the others. Eddie attempts to offer the refugees water but Kevin stops him and says that’s it’d be too risky if they were spotted.

A Tragic End

At the Miami bay, they are stopped by coast guards. Kevin tells everyone this is as far as he can bring them and that they will have to swim. The Haitians tell him they can’t swim, and in a panic, he threatens to shoot them. Eddie wrestles with Kevin for the gun, but it goes off and hits one of the refugees. The others jump into the water, but they quickly drown. Eddie tells Kevin that he sees why he’s in trouble. Everything Kevin did was selfish, and he really was the one to blame for his family’s troubles. Kevin agrees and then proceeds to shoot himself in the head.

In the aftermath, we see Kevin’s family grieve. Eddie is held responsible for the entire situation and taken into custody. The Haitian’s body’s wash up on shore, but we suddenly see Celianne take a breath. She helps her son onto shore as they are the only two to have survived.

This film was probably on the same level as a Shakespearean tragedy. It was such a heartwrenching story, and it was tragic to see the characters fall from grace. Especially when you were rooting for them the entire time. The director and writer did a great job highlighting the hidden horrors that the Haitian people have to face.

Characters

KevinCelianneBerneiceEddieVioletMonaJeanMajor

Kevin – A fisherman down on his luck and trying to do right by his family. He tries to be a good man, but it quickly becomes clear that he is not just a victim of circumstance.

Celianne – A Haitian immigrant trying to make a good life for her son. The two of them in the poorer part of the island where even finding clean water to drink is a task.

Berneice – Kevin’s wife who resents him for his past mistakes. She is a recluse who refuses to leave the house out of embarrassment of past events.

Eddie – Kevin’s best man and shipmate. He is unaware of the dark dealings of Kevin’s human smuggling.

Violet – Kevin’s mother who is suffering from dementia. She is putting a strain on Berneice who no longer wants to care for her.

Mona – Violet’s Jamaican caregiver introduced to Kevin by Eddie.

Jean – A Haitian man who is betrayed by Major and left stranded on an island. He blames Kevin for it and demands his money back.

Major – A used car dealer who really runs a human smuggling ring.

Cinematography

The quality of this film is on par for even big Hollywood budget films. The scenes flow together very well to tell a cohesive story. Every scene was shot beautifully and with purpose. Nothing seemed too dark nor too bright and they weren’t saturated with unnecessary filters.

Soundtrack

The music in the film did a good job creating a dramatic atmosphere for the scenes in the film. I think that worked well for the film’s overall tone and helped draw out the emotional response from the audience that the filmmakers intended.

Genre

Cargo is a drama film through and through. It aims to tell a story that most people outside of the Bahamas aren’t familiar with. It’s a tragic situation to be in, and these people have to face it every day. The acting was spot on and had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. As mentioned earlier, the ending of the film was on par with Shakespearean tragedies. It left me feeling bleak, but with just the smallest sense of hope.

Final Thoughts

Cargo is a tragic look into the lives of Haitian refugees in the Bahamas. As Kevin said, society started off smuggling alcohol, then drugs, and now people. It’s a sad reality and something most of us will never have to face. I think every movie is made to entertain, but some are made to educate and bring awareness. Cargo is a film like none other I’ve seen lately. It’s a story of love, loss, and corruption. It has a great lesson to teach and it certainly does bring light to the sad plight of millions of people the world over.

Good

  • Great acting
  • Engaging story

Bad

  • The pacing is a little slow
9.6

Amazing

Story - 10
Characters - 10
Cinematography - 10
Soundtrack - 8
Drama - 10
A writer, video game enthusiast, Halloween nerd, and an author of stories.
Average User Rating Write A Review 0 User Reviews
0
0 votes
Rate
Submit
Your Rating
0