Updated: Jan 14, 2019
★★★★ Directed by: Yad Deen Starring: Tania Watson, Agustín Mateo, Rawand Khalid Saeed, Youssef Osman Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
Set in a remote factory in Iraq, two filmmakers (Tania Watson and Agustín Mateo) look to uncover the secrets hidden within. Knowing that their presence is likely to be unwelcome and doing their best to stay under the radar, the pair must put their trust in their driver (Rawand Khalid Saeed) and pretty much hope for the best.
Carga, a short film directed by Yad Deen, who also co-writes here with Chesco Simón, benefits from an incredibly tense atmosphere throughout. Knowing that our protagonists are venturing into an area that is highly dangerous in order to document what they see keeps the audience compelled to keep watching. As the pair go even further off the map, managing to get past a seemingly curmudgeonly gatekeeper (Youssef Osman) we start to panic as to how much peril is in store for these characters.
The performances are excellent, in particular Watson who flows through a number of ranging emotions during the movie and her dedication to the final third is wonderful. Mateo is also brilliant as the kind but distrustful sidekick, constantly looking for danger but unable to do much about it. The chemistry between the two performers is great too, allowing the audience to genuinely care about them both and invest in their journey.
Above: the official movie trailer for Carga.
Viewers may find the coalescing genres a little too much to take. Starting as a road trip and then morphing into a tense thriller and finally more of a horror movie, there is quite a ride to be had. Fortunately, Deen handles this expertly, so if you are willing to embrace the chaotic journey there is a lot of enjoyment to be had. On top of this, there is some wonderful cinematography that captures the isolated landscape of the setting spectacularly. From an aesthetic point of view, Carga is faultless.
The story embraces some scintillating topics and themes, such as gender roles, trust, relationships and more. These get played out on a formidable foundation of great characters which allows them to explore such a wide variety without jolting the audience straight out of the picture. We care very early on about these two people and are invested in their endeavour and it’s the menacing elements of their surroundings that cement our attention.