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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on The Ambassador

ambassadorThis is one of those “I can’t believe he did that” types of documentaries.  In The Ambassador, Danish journalist Mads Brügger goes undercover as a Liberian diplomat in order to infiltrate the blood diamond trade in the Central African Republic.  It is a very dangerous act of deception and Brügger is warned that if he is exposed, the best possible outcome would be jail time and the worst possible outcome would be that Brügger ends up dead on the side of the road.

The film is entirely shot guerrilla-style with hidden cameras, with accompanying narration by Brügger to give the context of the situation.  In some ways, the film feels more like a narrative film than a documentary.  Perhaps its because it’s hard to comprehend that Brügger was able to convince so many people that he was a diplomat (the constant bribes he gave away probably helped). 

However, there is a recurring issue involving how he didn’t hire the most competent people to create his fake diplomatic identity and he did not possess the proper paperwork to gain full diplomatic immunity.  This becomes a problem for Brügger as he gets deeper integrated into the diamond trade.  The film also exposes much of the shady politics present within the, French controlled, Central African Republic.  In fact, one of the people Brügger talks to ends up being found dead and the fact that Brügger possesses illegally-recorded footage of the individual becomes a matter of concern.

Overall, while the film does have some lulls to it, I found The Ambassador to be a very interesting exposé of the diamond trade in Africa and how it is apparently quite easy to fool people into thinking that you are a diplomat.

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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).