Sergio - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sergio Reviews

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½ October 16, 2013
Poignant, straightforward doc.
January 12, 2011
Sergio is a touching documentary revolving around the last hours of Sergio Vieira de Mello's life while delving into his charismatic personality and amazing past.

I liked the structure of this film. So many documentaries (well, at least, those I have seen) tend to follow a traditional timeline, but Sergio bounces back and forth between Sergio's personal history, his accomplishments within the UN, interviews from friends and family, and the accounts from two of the men who attempted to save his life.

"Touching" may not fully encompass the multitude of emotions that this film touches upon. In the end, a profound sense of loss- not only for this man's life but for how many other lives may have been affected by his presence, was what I was left with once the credits rolled.

I would highly recommend this film for people who enjoy documentaries or are interested in recent history... though I must admit I don't know if this would be of the type I could watch repeatedly due to its heavy emotional nature.
November 23, 2009
Fantastiskt inspirerande och rörande, även om filmen nästan bara handlar om hur han dog. Och en dokumentär som inte ställer en enda kritisk fråga är väl ingen dokumentär?
August 6, 2009
I doubt that I will be watching this one.
August 2, 2009
Top bloke. Top doco. A real tearjerker.
½ May 4, 2009
Very moving film is on one hand a biography of former UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello -- and on the other, a gripping story of a heroic rescue mission. Sergio (as he was widely known as to even the most lowly UN staffer) was clearly one of the most charismatic, inspiring and tireless diplomats ever on the world stage -- starting out in strife-torn areas like Bangladesh and Cyrpus; as he rose to senior positions, breaking ground with the Khmer Rouge by holding talks in order to move the Cambodian refugee crisis forward; spearheading the independence of East Timor when it broke free from Indonesia; and finally, appointed by President George W. Bush as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Iraq, charged with the impossible task of transitioning the country from Coalition Forces occupation to self-governance. Very handsome, always smiling and never looking ruffled, Sergio clearly inspired all who worked with him (including surprising interviewees such as Paul Bremer and Condoleeza Rice, who knew he did not support the invasion), it is through he that thousands of lives the world over have been saved. Director Greg Barker could have made a very well-researched A&E Biography special, but he intercuts Sergio's life story with a terrifying account of the 2003 car bombing of the UN HQ in Iraq which killed Sergio as well as many other UN staffers. Interviewing the two brave soldiers who heroically tried to rescue Sergio (and a colleague who barely survivied) from the bombed-out rubble, Barker skillfully incorporates subtle re-creations with startling on-the-scene footage, resulting in an incredibly cinematic and suspensful film. But what is truly shocking is that the only tools the US Army used in their rescue attempt were a ladies purse and rope -- they were as incompetent and ill-prepared in their rescue operation as they were in the entire Iraq reconstruction process. There were virtually no guards or even security gates to the hotel the UN were headquartered in, despite the threats Al-Queda made to the organization. Barker's underlying statement here is that Sergio's premature, tragic and completely avoidable death is just one more element typifying the utter incompetent horror that is the Iraq War.
February 6, 2009
On August 19, 2003, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello was killed in the Canal Hotel bombing in Iraq while serving as the Special Representative for the U.N. Secretary General. It was a position he did not want to accept in a country in which he did not want to be. At that point, there had been no attacks against civilian units in Iraq, but the terrorists made this one count. With the death of Sergio, the U.N. and the world lost an incredibly charismatic and significant figure in the realms of promoting peace and working tirelessly for the cause of human rights. Greg Barker's film Sergio celebrates the life and work of the man who some slated as a suitable candidate for U.N. Secretary General. If Barker's only intention with his documentary was to praise one man, then the film would more than likely only be remembered as a sentimental favorite, not necessarily worthy of a second glance. However, Sergio also excels as a retrospective on the follies and fumbles of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the repercussions it's had on the reputation and mission of the U.N. In these regards, Sergio is a stunning documentary with a personal element that entreats our inner most emotions that is simultaneously indicative of a larger problem that effects us all.

What first and foremost connects us to Sergio is what connects us to the protagonist in any narrative film: he's a likable guy. Handsome, charismatic, hardworking, and unquestionably devoted to the cause of human rights, Sergio was the kind of guy everyone wanted to know, "good guys" and "bad guys" alike, and was the only member of the United Nations whose reputation was so prolific that he was referred to by his first name only. He carried himself with an air of confidence and understanding and was the rare kind of man who both thrived in and longed to be in the spotlight. He was also unconventional and controversial in his methods for trying to maintain peace and order and fell under scrutiny from some for his willingness to negotiate with Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, despite the results he achieved by doing so. It was this ability to approach and relate to powers on any level that allowed him to become the U.N. Transitional Administrator in East Timor, guiding the Indonesian-occupied country to independence, never once letting power or privilege tempt or influence him.

When offered the position of Special Representative for the U.N. Secretary General to Iraq, he initially turned it down. Though he celebrated the disposal of Saddam, he was vehement against the U.S. occupation and outspoken in his views of humanitarian crimes occurring there. Eventually he was convinced by President Bush and Condoleezza Rice and he accepted the position, feeling, like many others, that if anyone could do some good there, it would be him. Ironically, it was his decision for the sake of human rights that lead to his death. Though there representing the United Nations, al-Qaeda forces saw his accepting the position as a sign that he had become a lapdog for the United States and took action.

Though his death would have been tragic in and amongst itself, the true tragedy comes in the form of a botched excuse for a rescue attempt during which the only staff and equipment that could be provided for Sergio's rescue were two soldiers and a handbag with a curtain chord for hauling out bricks. Buried beneath two floors of rubble was one of the most heralded international with the unequivocal influence to bring people together and inspire change, and he never saw his fiancee or children again because there were neither enough soldiers to guard nor respond. There are many documentaries and feature films out there that attempt to convey the futility and fallout of the Iraq invasion, but Sergio succeeds where others fail because it avoids the psychic numbing addressed in Reporter and adds the personal touch to which people can relate and truly weigh the cost of the war.
½ January 25, 2009
I didn't think this documentary lived up to its hype. Sergio de Mello clearly was a charismatic and accomplished man, but "a real-life James Bond"? Not quite. The film provided a good history lesson, however, and it was well-made. Samantha Powers is a new heroine of mine.
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