Cargo (2009 film)

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Cargo poster-1-.jpg
Official film poster
Directed by Ivan Engler
Ralph Etter
Produced by Marcel Wolfisberg
Ivan Engler
Meret Burger
Florian Nussbaumer
Written by Arnold Bucher
Ivan Engler
Patrik Steinmann
Starring Anna-Katharina Schwabroh
Martin Rapold
Michael Finger
Claude-Oliver Rudolph
Yangzom Brauen
Pierre Semmler
Regula Grauwiller
Gilles Tschudi
Maria Boettner
Music by Fredrik Strömberg
Atlantis Pictures
Release date(s)
  • September 24, 2009 (2009-09-24)
Running time 120 minutes
Country Switzerland
Language German

Cargo is a 2009 science fiction film, the first from Swiss production and the first major feature film by Ivan Engler.[1]


It is the year 2267. After the earth has become uninhabitable due to an ecological collapse, the remaining people live on overcrowded space stations in Earth's orbit. The young doctor Laura Portmann (Anna-Katharina Schwabroh) is one of them. She hopes for a better future alongside her sister on the distant planet Rhea, but to get there, she needs money. She signs up with Kuiper Enterprises for a job on the decrepit cargo ship Kassandra, heading for an eight-year flight to unmanned Station #42 and back.

The crew consists of five members: Captain Lacroix (Pierre Semmler), Lindbergh (Regula Grauwiller), Yoshida (Yangzom Brauen), Prokoff (Claude-Oliver Rudolph), and Vespucci (Michael Finger). Crew members spend most of the fully automated flight in deep cryosleep while one person stays awake in 8 ½ month shifts to monitor the space ship. Due to the current terrorist threat from the radical Neo-Luddite group "Maschinenstürmer" ("Machine Strikers"), there is also an additional security person aboard: Samuel Decker (Martin Rapold). Toward the end of her shift, Portmann hears unusual noises from the cargo bay, and she feels observed. Her colleagues are awakened, and together the crew sets out to investigate the cold cargo space.

During the search, Captain Lacroix falls to his death from the cargo containers under mysterious circumstances. When footage from Lacroix's artificial eye is reviewed by Portmann, she discovers that he saw containers marked "BIOHAZARD" in the ship's hold, despite assurance that they were transporting construction materials. When Decker and Portmann investigate, they find a room filled with cases containing humans in deep cryosleep.

Upon examining a young girl from the hold, Portmann finds a "perfected" virtual reality connector embedded in the girl's spine. Later, Portmann sends an account of her finding to her sister on Rhea, and receives a reply in 20 minutes, rather than the usual matter of years. Lindbergh arrests Decker on suspicion of Lacroix's murder, and Decker reveals to Portmann that they are not flying to Station #42, but to Rhea. Her curiosity piqued, Portmann asks Yoshida to check the ship's travel coordinates, which confirm that they are not heading towards Station #42. Later, Portmann finds Yoshida dead on the lower levels.

In response to the gruesome discovery, Lindbergh organizes search teams to find whoever killed Yoshida. While searching the lower levels, Portmann is attacked by a figure in a large coat, but saved by someone shooting the man in the back. Portmann recognizes the assailant as Klaus Bruckner, leader of the "Maschinenstürmer". Portmann's savior is revealed to be Decker, Klaus Bruckner's teammate working undercover as an RBS agent. Lindbergh realizes that Portmann doesn't trust her and restrains her too, revealing to her that Rhea is a giant virtual reality simulation on a station in orbit around the actual, uninhabitable, planet. The crew are actually on their way to Rhea, but Lindbergh intends to execute Portmann and Decker before they arrive. Prokoff and Vespucci overhear Lindbergh and overpower her, freeing Portmann.

The four make a plan to enter Rhea and free Portmann's sister, while destroying the telecommunications antenna, ceasing broadcasts from Rhea's station. Prokoff and Vespucci decide to stay on Rhea, choosing virtual reality's paradise to real life. Decker sets the explosives on the antennae while Portmann cares for the young girl she found. When she sets out from the airlock, Portmann realizes that her fuel cell is faulty and her jetpack is broken. Luckily, she is caught by Decker and the two find Portmann's sister's containment pod. Portmann connects to the virtual world and finds her sister living happily in a beautiful house. Seeing how happy her sister and her sister's children are, Portmann decides to leave without telling them that their world is a simulation. However, before she leaves, she sends out a broadcast revealing the truth about Rhea and the news that Earth is habitable again.

Back in reality, Decker gives Portmann his fuel cell so she can get back to the Kassandra. A sudden shockwave from the force of the Kassandra's engine igniting blows Decker away and Portmann tearfully returns to the ship. The explosives on the antennae detonate as the Kassandra floats away.

Back on board the Kassandra, Portmann is confronted again by the escaped Lindbergh, who attempts to kill her. Portmann forces Lindbergh into an airlock, which blows her out into deep space. Portmann then returns to the young girl and cares for her. The film ends with Portmann's broadcast from Rhea airing on news stations everywhere.


  1. ^ Blaney, Martin (March 26, 2008). "Ascot Elite adds to slate with Swiss sci-fi thriller Cargo". Retrieved 2009-12-16. 

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