CARGO 200

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2007
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 89 minutes
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This Russian thriller is a weird one for sure and with a mean streak so cruel it’s belly laugh inducing, it certainly earns its three star rating even if most of it is rather boring. The extra half star is for its WTF?! factor.

“Cargo 200,” as mentioned above, is mostly pretty boring and just when you think you’ve had enough something will happen that will make you sit up and pay attention again -such as someone getting a bottle shoved up their pooper. The film, too, is largely incoherent, hence much of the boredom, but I will do my best to relay a basic summary of what goes down:

***SPOILER ALERT*** (I’m not going to spoil too much here, but if you intend on seeing this film at some point, the best way to do so is knowing very little about it, including basic premise as part of its charm is derived from you wondering where this whole thing is going and then feeling slapped in the face when you finally get there.)

Taking place in the ‘80s era Soviet Union, a particularly cruel police officer – kind of like a Russian version of Harvey Keitel’s “Bad Lieutenant” character – kidnaps a teenage girl reluctantly visiting a farmhouse with a punk she picked up at a disco. The cop takes her to his shabby little apartment whre he lives with his mother and handcuffs the girl to his bed, mentally and physically torturing her, including whoring her out to criminals while Mom’s making racial slurs at television programs in the other room.

Taking place in the ‘80s era Soviet Union, a particularly cruel police officer – kind of like a Russian version of Harvey Keitel’s “Bad Lieutenant” character – kidnaps a teenage girl reluctantly visiting a farmhouse with a punk she picked up at a disco. The cop takes her to his shabby little apartment where he lives with his mother and handcuffs the girl to his bed, mentally and physically torturing her, including whoring her out to criminals while Mom’s making racial slurs at television programs in the other room. Oh yeah, the term “Cargo 200” is used in reference to dead soldiers being shipped home in crates from Afghanistan.

***END OF SPOILER ALERT***

If you read the above paragraph, that’s a very bare bones breakdown of what happens, but it is the heart of the film. As for the rest, there was plenty I simply didn’t get and other shit that’s just not worth mentioning here.

So if it’s such a boring film with only a few points of interest – why the fairly positive star rating? Well, I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but the movie made me laugh – inappropriate pop music placement mixed with barbaric cruelty and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. It’s not a great movie, but it’s a memorable one, which is a lot to say for a film that’s mostly pretty dull. A short run time of 89 minutes definitely works towards its favor – anything over 100 minutes would have been unbearable – and I recommend checking this one out on video whenever or wherever it pops up. Keep your eyes open for it – it’s truly something weird.



Posted on June 29, 2008 in Reviews by
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