Friday, April 17, 2020

Review: Sergio

Release date: April 17, 2020
Running time: 118 minutes
Starring: Wagner Moura, Ana de Armas, Brían F. O'Byrne 

Sergio is a biodrama about UN Diplomat Sérgio Vieira de Mello, who was a UN diplomat for 34 years, earning praise for his humanitarian work around the world.  In the movie, one person calls him the "World's Mr. Fix-It," and that does seem to be accurate based on his career.  de Mello was sent all over the world to deal with humanitarian problems and come up with solutions.  Sergio the movie tells a portion of this story, focusing on his time in Iraq with flashbacks to his life and other areas of the world where he served.

A movie about a single individual, understandably there is a large focus on the man himself.  And thankfully, Wagner Moura is up to the task of portraying de Mello.  His portrayal apparently nails Moura's distinctive speaking style and many of his mannerisms.  But aside from accuracy, Moura portrays de Mello as a charismatic leader who grapples with tough issues with a smile on his face.  And this causes de Mello to be a very likable character.  Ana de Armas plays Sergio's girlfriend, Carolina, who was a UN Economics officer.  She has great chemistry with Moura and the two come off naturally as a couple in a complicated situation. 

The story of Sergio is told from his time as UN Special Representative in Iraq, with flashbacks to his early life and some of his earlier assignments.  This provides an interesting storytelling vehicle, but can come off as sporadic as the film constantly jumps in the timeline.  And although the story presents a truncated version of his accomplishments, it also makes sure to show the very real costs that those accomplishments took on Sergio.  There is a scene with his family that shows this without having to be explicit, something I really appreciate in a film.  Accordingly, the story also does a good job of portraying him as a complicated character, someone who had motivations, ego, and civic duty all weighing on him as he did his job.  In the end, the film puts a very real human face on a larger than life figure.  

Sergio puts a very real human face on the larger than life figure, with charismatic performances from its leads and an unconventional storytelling method.

Watch it.

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