Movie Review - Live Cargo
Directed and co-written by Logan Sandler in his feature debut, this movie is being released in a very opportune time. This past year, two films were nominated at the 89th Academy Awards that also addressed this idea of "live cargo." The first was Daphne Matziaraki's 4.1 Miles. Nominated for Best Documentary (Short Subject), that film was about a Greek island dealing with Syrian refugees from Turkey. The second was Gianfranco Rosi's Fire at Sea. Nominated for Best Documentary Feature, that film was about an Italian island dealing with African refugees from Libya and Nigeria.
Sandler's work isn't a documentary but it's similarly about an island and the refugees or migrants who come to it or try to come to it. Many of whom die along the way on or off a capsized boat. Here, Sandler centers on the Bahamas dealing with black immigrants from Haiti, and no, it's not a documentary but I couldn't help but feel a connection to Fire at Sea in the way that Sandler constructs this movie, which echoes a lot of what Rosi did.
Both Sandler and Rosi embrace techniques that lean on subtlety and minimalism. Both filmmakers are simple, not flashy. Sandler uses very little to almost no dialogue as Rosi uses little to no interviews. For both, it's less about what people say as what they do, or in Sandler's case, how their bodies move. Neither filmmaker is too intrusive in that regard.
The past decade, Malick has divorced himself more and more from narrative. Sandler still struggles to hold onto one here. That narrative though has less to do with Lewis and Nadine who drift apart for reasons unknown, whose presence together is for reasons unknown, and whose sudden thrust back onto one another is jarring because it's predicated on the so-called live cargo being literally dropped into their hands. Arguably, the movie isn't even about them.
H2O, whether it's dripping off Myron's head or backside, a roof or it's waves crashing against rocks or on a beach.
Not Rated but for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 28 mins.
Starting on March 31 in Los Angeles at the Arena Cinelounge.
Also playing in New York at the Cinema Village for a one-week engagement.
Available on iTunes also on March 31.