Showing on Netflix.
Director Greg Barker has previously made a documentary about the life of Sergio De Mello a senior UN envoy who has spent his career travelling the worlds hot spots including Cambodia and East Timor, which eventually leads to a posting in US occupied Baghdad. His film focuses around the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in the city, its impact and the chance for De Mello to reflect on his lives and loves.
Wagner Moura and Ana de Armas play the two central roles of De Mello and Carolina Larriera, his later life love, both of who are fascinating real life characters with no doubt interesting life stories to share.
But here’s the problem with Sergio, while there is no doubt a truly fascinating story to tell of both of our central characters, this film pretty much fails to show any of it.
Instead what we get is a film that chooses to only occasionally explore some of De Mello’s career highs and lows and instead would rather tell a melodramatic Mills and Boone style insipid love story between De Mello and Larierra including all the over ripe romance tropes you could want, especially in a frankly dull final act.
It does seem a huge missed opportunity, with not only an interesting subject but in Moura and de Amas, two talented performer’s who even with the material given to them both deliver solid and very watchable performances.
Ultimately, Sergio is a frustrating film there’s a really good movie trying to escape, but it can never get free of the over sentimental and cloying grasp of the frankly dull romance that surrounds it and that is a real pity, the only plus is I’m going to search out Barker’s documentary because I’m sure there is an interesting character to better understand it’s just this film is most certainly not the way to do it.