An enigmatic and decadent white diplomat arrives in central Africa sporting dark glasses, riding boots, and a cigarette holder. He has recently bought an ambassadorship and claims to be a do-good rich businessman spearheading a diplomatic mission. Officially, he is there to start a factory that will employ locals to produce matches. Unofficially, he has really come to gain access to the area’s vast reserves of diamonds. It soon becomes apparent that, in this postcolonial economy, nearly everyone is out to rip off everyone else, and the dangers become all too real.
Mads Brügger returns to the Sundance Film Festival (The Red Chapel won the World Cinema documentary Jury Prize in 2010) with yet another brilliant example of gonzo filmmaking. Armed with a diplomatic passport, a hidden camera, and his razor-sharp wit, he risks life and limb to uncover deep-rooted corruption that allows others to continue to get rich from Africa’s resources. The Ambassador is a genre-breaking tragicomedy that establishes Brügger as a singular voice in the documentary world. –Sundance Film Festival
Hits and misses abound in "Ambassador," a film about Mads' attempts to become an African diplomat with the goal of trading cash for blood diamonds. Through a not-so-surprising account of corruption & deceit, we feel genuinely sorry for the people he's duped into his charade, don't learn as much as we should about Liberians themselves, & when it's all done end up scratching our heads as to what we just watched.
A roundup for the closing weekend.
Plus: An impressive new trailer for Gareth Huw Evans’s The Raid.