A portrait in character, diplomacy and courage, “En Route to Baghdad” follows the all-too-short career in Iraq of super envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello. Pic places his final posting in critical context of his earlier work in Mozambique, Cambodia, North Korea and East Timor, international hot spots where the urbane, movie-star handsome, ultra-sophisticated Brazilian did some good for the world. International tube and docu-friendly big screens beckon.
Director Simone Duarte eventually follows her subject’s trail to Baghdad, where de Mello lost his life in the August 2003, bombing of the U.N.’s Iraqi headquarters. Despite this being a largely talking-heads film, those interviewed are so emotional about de Mello and his legacy of peace and assistance that one can’t help but feel a passion for the man, and the work his much maligned organization continues to do. Those who sit and criticize should, but probably won’t, be shamed by de Mello’s story. Others will simply feel inspired.