"Sergio" Movie Review

Updated on April 20, 2020
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

Sergio
Sergio | Source

In 2009, filmmaker Greg Barker released the documentary Sergio about the fascinating life and untimely death of UN administrator Sergio de Mello. The film went on to be a festival darling, winning a handful of awards around the world while serving as both a eulogy for the diplomat and a much-needed introduction for those people who had only casually heard his name, if at all.

When production was complete, though, Barker says he couldn’t get de Mello’s story out of his mind and also felt there was a personal side of the story that he regrettably wasn’t able to tell in the documentary. Eleven years later, Barker’s feature film debut (also titled Sergio) stars Narcos’ Wagner Moura as a man known the world over by just his first name. In the sense that everyone should learn about de Mello and his contributions to human rights and diplomacy, Barker’s redux film works. As a motion picture worthy of its subject matter, however, it is at best a PoliSci crash course of the man’s finer moments, peppered with tedious scenes of a “personal side”, which, it turns out, isn’t that necessary after all.

Framed the exact same way as the documentary, Sergio begins and ends with de Mello filming an orientation video for new UN employees before the film quickly cuts to the explosion at UN Headquarters in Baghdad that ended his life in 2003. We then jump back in time to his career milestones, including de Mello’s successful efforts to earn East Timor its independence from Indonesia in 2002 and, before that, his work in Cambodia negotiating human rights issues with the Khmer Rouge.

Sergio de Mello’s personal life comes into play in the form of Ana de Armas as Carolina Larriera, an economics advisor for the UN who was his common law wife (though not officially until more than a decade after his death). Both Moura (who, distractingly, looks nothing like de Mello) and de Armas are at the top of their game and imbue their characters with a quiet but palpable humanity, but the storyline itself (in the form of Craig Borten’s sloth of a script) is where it all falls apart.

Sandwiching flashbacks within other flashbacks and devoting far too much time to the intimate moments that any common-sense person can simply infer, Sergio gets dragged down by the very thing Barker was hoping to inject into his feature film in the first place. Maybe it’s because I caught a few minutes of Top Gun when it aired on AMC last week, but I swear all that was missing from Sergio and Carolina’s breathy sex scene late in the film was a rousing refrain of “Take My Breath Away.”

If you don’t know the name Sergio de Mello, it’s not too late to learn it and then quickly grow to appreciate the legacy that “the world’s Mr. Fix It” left behind. By all means, though, go the documentary route, and spare yourself the schmaltz.

Rating

2/5 stars

'Sergio' trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Gunslinger4881 profile image

      Matt Brown 

      3 months ago from Pasadena

      Not an interesting movie to me, but you write a great review.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)