Mads Brügger mines laughs in The Ambassador.
THE AMBASSADOR (Mads Brügger). 94 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (January 11) at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. See times. Rating: NNN
After infiltrating North Korea as a phony comic in his last film, Red Chapel, Danish journalist Mads Brügger seeks to expose just how easily diplomatic accreditation can be purchased in Africa for the purposes of smuggling and illegal trading.
From setting up backroom deals with crooked consuls and brokers to creating his own front operation in the Central African Republic, Brügger crafts a coal-black comedy that gets exponentially more dangerous the deeper he goes.
Brügger plays things almost too straight at times. It's hard to tell what's genuine and what's manufactured, especially when he seems to be having too much fun with his jerky cover identity to step out of it and explain the gravity of the situation to the audience.
But the up-close look at a blood diamond mine and the wit and chills in hidden-camera interviews carry weight. Brügger mines the situation for laughs, but the movie works better as an exposé on serious issues than as a vehicle to establish the filmmaker as a cross between Michael Moore and Sacha Baron Cohen.