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.
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.
WARNING: This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.