Sergio (Diego Peretti) used to be somebody. He may not have been somebody people had heard of but he was somebody that didn’t have to work very hard to get by. Initials SG starts as Sergio is working in Buenos Aires in a movie, playing a dead body. This is the highpoint of the film for him. Soon after he is involved in a bicycle accident that leaves him with a broken nose and a broken spirit, from there the movie follows him as he desperately tries to figure out how to be somebody again, and fails at almost every turn.
You get the idea that Sergio is not the type of guy who is used to failing, he is the type of guy that has gotten by on his good looks at charisma for so long that he doesn’t know how to do anything else. His, “professions,” include movie extra, porn star, and occasional singer. At the beginning of the movie, we see Sergio doing the best with what he has, even winning an award for being an extra in a record amount of movies at the local film festival. It’s the kind of life any guy in his 20s would envy but seems pretty sad for someone in their late 40s.
We follow Sergio as he attempts to find work and sex, stopping at times to visit lawyers and therapists on the way. He has trouble finding extra work since his nose is broken from the bike accident, and while he does find something on the porn side of things, it is quickly ruined in a scene that is better seen than described. Accompanying Sergio for most of the film is Jane (Julianne Nicholson), an American woman who for reasons we never learn is visiting Argentina, and also clearly wants to have an affair with Sergio while there. For his part, Sergio isn’t too interested in Jane initially, preferring to chase after a woman half his age, but when his other options dry up, he goes with what is available.
At the point in the movie when you think it’s just going to be a basic story about a has-been actor, it takes a pretty drastic turn when Sergio accidentally commits a fairly heinous crime. As he attempts to clean up his mess he quickly pulls Jane into the mix and the last third of the movie focuses on how the two deal with and come to grips with what they have done. This is where the movie becomes very satisfying because Sergio finally has to handle something that has real stakes and that he can’t charm himself out of.
Another thing that Sergio has no control over is the Argentinian national soccer team, which is important because the film is set during the 2014 World Cup. Sergio, like a lot of people in South America, is overly attached to soccer and firmly believes that his fate is somehow mysteriously connected to the fate of his countries team. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you know how things turned out for Argentina in 2014, you’ll have an idea of how everything shakes out for Sergio.
The tone of Initials SG is hard to pin down. It is probably easiest described as a dark comedy, but with the jazzy soundtrack, omniscient narrator, and brooding anti-hero, it is maybe better labeled a Noir Comedy. No matter what genre you decided to put it in, it is an interesting study of a certain type of man that you don’t particularly like, but absolutely want to watch.
Subs & Dubs: It’s only available in Spanish with English subtitles, but Nicholson’s American character tends to switch between English and Spanish which makes watching a little easier.
Where to watch: RIght now it seems to be only be available on HBOMax, but you can a free 7 day trial and there’s a lot of other things worth watching on there.