This darkly comic, genre-bending documentary that exposes the corrupt business of selling diplomatic titles to exploit the lucrative and limited resources of war torn, third world nations. Filmmaker/journalist/provocateur Mads Brugger uses humor in his jaw-dropping descent into one of the most dangerous places on the planet: Central African Republic. From each absurdly terrifying and hilarious situation to the next, ‘The Ambassador’ is a one-of-a-kind excursion from the man whom The Huffington Post has called “the most provocative filmmaker in the world.”
The Ambassador is one of the most shocking films you will see in a very long time. Though it is a documentary, it feels way too out there to be real. Real it is, however, as Mads Brugger goes after yet another controversial and dangerous subject; the Central African Republic diamond business. In a previous film, Brugger goes into North Korea to film the “Red Chapel” and skirting with danger. This time he heads full on into the middle of what can only be defined as corruption personified. This film has you laughing out loud at the absurdity of his character and at the same time has you plastered to the edge of your seat waiting on him to be killed. Indeed, one of the men he is dealing with is assassinated during the course of filming this documentary.
He goes undercover as a businessman that wants to score credentials as a diplomat. He makes no bones about the purpose of these “credentials” as he wants to exploit the diamond business. (and uncover some journalistic gems along the way) It is not long before Mads finds someone willing to make him the consul from Liberia despite the fact that he is a white man from Europe. Nobody even questions his motives as I suppose they are used to the corruption of the area and subject matter. All the while Mads is filming this stuff behind the scenes and with hidden cameras. This leads us to feel the tension of him being found out, but Mads himself never blinks. Instead, he plays an over the top character that is loaded with funny one liners and Cohen like insanity. Perhaps the humor keeps all of them off their guard, because he seemingly has no problems moving about and accomplishing his goals.
Mads finds corruption that goes up to the very top of the government, and even touches upon the idea of bribes with Mads offering up “envelopes of happiness” as he calls them. This money adds to the danger quotient which permeates the entire film. You literally feel as though he is moments from being caught or found out, and his insane comic wit only adds to that tension. For some reason the tension adds to the comedy as well. Call it nervous laughter if you like, but it certainly amplifies the funny.
Much of the film focuses on the strange ideas around the area and the business of the diamond trade. People are very much willing to do most anything to make a few bucks, and at the same time can be very traditional as well. It is clear that they all are highly aware of the things going on around them and that they are used to working under the radar. Mads for his part blends right in from a business standpoint. He stands out like a sore thumb in every other way, however.
Mads plays a caricature of what one might expect as the lead in a blood diamond feature film. He looks the part and plays the part to the hilt. Despite the dangers, Mads delivers in a huge way with The Ambassador.
The Ambassador is a masterful documentary that takes chances like I have never seen in a film before. With such dedication and courage, it is clear that this man is willing to go to the edges of the earth for his passion. One can only hope that this man will stay alive long enough to continue making such exquisite films and documentaries. (He takes so many chances and is so fearless) He has a special talent for the medium and has few peers in what he does.
The Ambassador is a top notch effort that will leave you stunned and mesmerized. A great film indeed.