When it’s because he is being forced to behave in a language he is not comfortable talking, or because he just did not find appropriate leadership, Wagner Moura’s functionality in the new Netflix movie Sergio could only be described as… odd. That is unfortunate, since the movie, a biopic, depends more intensely than most on the operation of its lead performer.
You may be amazed to understand that Moura, a Brazilian, needed to learn Spanish Narcos, where he played the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. While the series and Moura’s functionality were acclaimed globally, Colombians were miffed in his Portuguese accent. “It is like using a South American drama Sherlock Holmes,” I remember one man saying back then.
In moments of chaos, he defaults into his native Portuguese, to his aide that he talks into French; he speaks Spanish in certain moments, but mostly, he’s forced to speak in English. And his distress is real. In more straightforward scenes, particularly those which involve Sergio’s girlfriend Carolina, played with Ana de Armas, Moura is relaxed and warm. However, when he’s called to communicate anger, or impatience, the actor is owned by the soul of Capitao Nascimento, his iconic personality in the Elite Squad films.
Unexpectedly, Moura’s eyes bulge out of the skulls gravelly voice, that seemed like a soothing baritone in arenas with de Armas, starts to grate such as a faulty tractor.
All this is irritatingly deflecting in a somewhat well-intentioned picture, about a person who deserves a biopic. In this movie, Barker concentrates on his setup as a UN envoy in war-torn Iraq, after the United States had pillaged and burnt the nation for part of its War on Terror. In this aspect, Sergio is maybe among the very honest mainstream movies to have been made concerning the US’ incursions in the Middle East, because, possibly, Paul Greengrass’ Green Zone, that implied the weapons of mass destruction concept proved to be a sham.
In an early scene, he makes it apparent whilst covering a gaggle of reporters that the UN does not kowtow to the Bush government, and that his occupation in Iraq would be to make sure that the individuals are not mistreated.
Provided that the movie remains centered on Sergio’s accomplishments as a diplomat, it is engaging. However, Barker, presumably lurks in the chance to reevaluate the personality, feels forced to squeeze as much as you can — meaning that subplots between Sergio’s poorly bulged toddlers as well as his history of success in battle zones are not explored fully. Had the love not been fundamental to the storyline, I would be tempted to write off it as an unnecessary diversion.
To improve the convoluted nature of the movie, the screenplay by Oscar-nominee Craig Borten frames the story almost entirely in flashbacks, giving the impression that the whole movie is 1 man’s dying eyesight — that maybe the stage.
Virtually every Hollywood movie about the Iraq War was roundly rejected in the box office. However, disguised as a Netflix film starring Pablo Escobar and also a future Bond girl, Sergio may draw crowds’ attention to a very contentious time in contemporary history.