The unexpected death of their father leaves the lives of three brothers spinning inexorably out of control in Gilles Courier’s taut Scandinavian drama Cargo.

William (Sebastien Dewaele), on the run from his life of crime, is looking for redemption; Francis (Wim Willaert), struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, is hoping for acceptance; and Jean (Sam Louwyck), single father to an eight-year-old son, seeks to recover the family business but is without the funds necessary.

Women are notably absent in a film that will inevitably be compared to Manchester by the Sea. But that seems purposeful; not one of the three brothers are anchored by the domestic stability they need.

The cinematography is outstanding. David Williamson’s seascapes pour out of the screen’s edges: boats are carried passively along the sea’s surface, gulls turn and turn in the widening gyre – the centre cannot hold. The sea is a chaotic, unstable place in which hierarchies are quickly toppled; patriarchs are swept up in its turbulence while their children are left drifting uncontrollably. Totally nihilistic, this tragic worldview makes for some really great drama.

Cargo is a fascinating study not just of grief, but of the difficulty of working in such perilous circumstances. The fishermen’s ambivalence towards the sea as their inevitable burial ground is summarised in a particularly painful moment in which Vico, Jean’s son, asks about his tattoos. They are there in case he is swept overboard. But what if the body is not found? Then it remains there.

The relentless drama in Cargo is not for the lighthearted. A close observation of masculinity tearing itself apart, this turbulent North Sea drama will leave you emotionally devastated as well. We predict it to make waves when it resurfaces in cinemas in the UK.



CAST: Josse De Pauw, Wennie De Ruyck, Gilles De Schryver

DIRECTOR: Gilles Coulier

WRITER: Gilles Coulier 

SYNOPSIS: Tensions erupt when three sons are forced to take over a failing family fisheries business.