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Carga

Portugal 2018
produced by
Joana Domingues, Tim Vieira (executive), Hugo Mendonça (executive) for Caracol Studios
directed by Bruno Gascon
starring Vítor Norte, Michalina Olszanska, Rita Blanco, Dmitry Bogomolov, Miguel Borges, Sara Sampaio, Ana Cristina de Oliveira, Duarte Grilo, Beatriz Pires, Tim Vieira, João Artur Santos, João Lopes, Gonçalo de Morais, Sérgio Novo, Ramón De Los Santos, Carlota Ladeiro, Fernando Paussão Lopes, Hugo Cesário, Luís Sustelo, Adriana Pais, Tatiana Dias, Maria Manuel Pinheiro, Kim Grygierzec, Margarida Calaveiras, Margarida Franco, Rui Porto Nunes, Rui Luís Brás
written by Bruno Gascon, music by Filipe Goulart, Milton Nuñez

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Portuguese truckdriver Antonio (Vítor Norte) isn't an evil man per se, but still he has put himself and more importantly his truck in the service of human traffickers - his motives are unknown, maybe it was just for the fast money, but maybe he thought he actually could help people. Fact is though, he's only a small wheel in a big white slavery operation. These days though, he's plagued by guilt, but really can't quit as long as Viktor (Dmitry Bogomolov) threatens to kill his wife (Rita Blanco) and granddaughter (Beatriz Pires).

Viktor is a ruthless white slaver who doesn't shy away from anything as long as the money's right, and he even ruthlessly kills his associates when he feels they've wronged him - even if these killings are mostly done to cover up his own mistakes, as while he's ruthless and powerful, he's only half as infallible and smart as he leads others on to be.

Alanna (Michalina Olszanka) is the only woman safe from Viktor's outbursts of violence, or relatively safe at least, as she's his sister. But even she fears him, although she's as ruthless as him if not even more so, which makes her his perfect partner in crime. Then though she finds out that Viktor knew all along that their father had raped her when she was a mere child and had even taken photos of the act. And now she wants revenge ...

Viktoriya (Michalina Olszanka again) is one of Viktor's girls, but she manages to get away, even if that means killing one of Viktor's men (Miguel Borges), who actually tried to help her. Viktoriya drives away until the car breaks down, then runs until she breaks down, right at the doorstep of Luisa and her granddaughter Mia, who welcome her in. But they're also the wife and granddaughter of Antonio, which all makes for an explosive finale ...

 

A compelling thriller that really manages to make its central topic, white slavery, palpable without hammering its message home or favouring spectacle over content. Instead it takes its time to develop a bunch of multi-layered characters, most of them living in the grey area between good and evil and driven there rather than there by choice. But at the same time the film never forgets to drive its story forward, while an atmospheric directorial effort, also mirrored in the somewhat elegiac musical score, really manages to get one in the right mood.

True, this is not the most uplifting of movies (which it hasn't set out to be), but well worth a look or two.

 

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On the same day
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directed by
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written by
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