Sergio Poster

“Sergio,” a new Netflix original film, tells the true story of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, a UN diplomat and humanitarian who was caught in the 2003 Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad, Iraq.

Through flashbacks we see the events from the past three years of Sérgio’s life leading up to the bombing, including his diplomatic work in Cambodia and East Timor.

As there are multiple plot lines to follow in various flashbacks — each with different languages — it can be difficult to keep up with the film. At times, the flashbacks seem a little too short for the audience to understand the overlapping timelines.

However, this doesn’t ruin the film, but is instead a point where “Sergio” could have made the movie more engaging to viewers. It seems as though the film couldn’t decide what to focus most on. So many aspects of Sérgio Vieira de Mello’s life were included, even though some parts were somewhat distracting and unnecessary.

We see Sérgio in Brazil, East Timor, Cambodia, Iraq and even New York City. In each place, Sérgio is a passionate individual, driven to create peace and bring an end to the wars that destroy the people he visits.

Wagner Moura stars as Sérgio Vieira de Mello. This is not his first time taking on the role of a real person, and it shows. The Brazilian actor garnered international fame as Pablo Escobar in “Narcos,” a successful Netflix series about the Colombian drug trade in the 1980s.

Moura is convincing and moving as Sérgio and works to honor the person that he was in a tasteful yet honest way.

Moura’s performance is strengthened by that of Ana de Armas, who plays Carolina Larriera — Sérgio’s love interest. Larriera also worked for the UN and is a driven individual herself — a strong female character that inspires audiences.

The performances of each are impressive by themselves, but together, Wagner Moura and Ana de Armas share a chemistry that’s evident on screen and translates well, to create a moving sense of realism.

“Sergio” is not a film that will change your life. However, it’s a film about the real life of an incredible man and his legacy. In the decades Sérgio Vieira de Mello spent working for the UN, he was known as a powerful yet compassionate person, and his story is one that should be remembered.

The major highlight of the film was the complementary performances of Wagner Moura and Ana de Armas. Alone, these two actors strengthened the film beyond what the plot or script could have ever accomplished. Together, they were a force of emotion and brought the film out of simplicity and into complexity, an impressive and difficult feat. 

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