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VINE VOICEon 8 March 2009
OSS117 is bound to suffer from being subtitled but the humour is strong enough to survive the need to read. Secret Agent OSS117 is played as a very affectionate homage to Sean Connery's Bond persona. The same faintly idiot smugness when a woman is seen (well idiot when the rest of us tried to do it) and the way he moves all make one feel this is a Bond film you've seen but cannot quite remember. Add in the usual mixture of Fifties/Sixties colonialism and sexism with an unerring eye for the cars, clothes and streets and the paraphernalia of spying (the blanquette de veau password joke runs throughout the film) and one has a very funny parody without being too foolish. It is a gallic Maxwell Smart but with more heart. A funny, clever, film.
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on 28 May 2017
Fun film! Very stylish. Super speedy delivery.
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on 26 October 2017
Hilarious!
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 June 2009
Taking French cinema's once much-loved 60s superspy and turning him into a politically incorrect figure of fun, a lot of the historical injokes do get lost in translation, but there's enough going on that's funny enough in its own Austin Powers fashion to make this well worth a look.

Although often regarded as just another Continental Bond ripoff, Jean Bruce published the first of his 91 OSS 117 novels in 1949 long before Ian Fleming reached for his Book of British Birds, and the first of seven `straight' adaptations was made in 1956, six years before Sean Connery was fitted for his tux. Later entries in the series got Frederick Stafford the lead in Hitchcock's Topaz and John Gavin the role of James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever - well, at least until Connery decided to come back after all. But this isn't the Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, aka agent OSS 117 of Bruce's novels. In this 2006 comedy, the character has been turned into a walking criticism of outdated colonial attitudes: he's ridiculously overconfident, has questionable flashbacks of happier days with his dead sidekick on the beach, loves to fight, hates dust, can't understand why Arabs would make up their own language and religion, hands out photographs of the French president to locals as tips and ferments an uprising when he stops a Muezzin from making the call to prayer because it's interrupting his sleep. Smug, xenophobic and pig ignorant, he's the kind of man who'll take an insult for a compliment because he doesn't understand it. Like Inspector Clouseau he's completely unaware that he's an idiot, which is why the character works so well. Behind his blundering ignorance is a mockery of France's colonial past and western arrogance: his attitudes and certainties are as hopelessly outdated as they are delusionally overoptimistic

It doesn't hurt that he looks the part. With leading man good looks and a suit that could have been swiped from Connery's You Only Live Twice wardrobe, Jean Dujardin is exactly the kind of type who would have been cast in a serious OSS 117 film in the 60s. And this really looks like it could have been shot then - the look of the film is spot-on, with its wonky backprojection and that ever-so-slightly-faded colour that was a feature of many early 60s continental Scope films, while the production design looks just like a mid-60s film's idea of the mid-50s.

With so much attention going to the central character and recreating the Sixties style, the plot is pretty slight - it's mainly a chance for Bath to proudly flaunt his ignorance while poking fun at spy movie clichés, Nazis and chickens (the source of the film's best running gag) - and the film itself is often more amusing than laugh out loud funny. But after a slowish start it becomes rather infectiously likeable, and it's worth seeing for Dujardin's rendition of an Arabic version of Bambino alone - it's a real showstopper in the very best sense of the word!

Unfortunately, the ICA's UK DVD is a bit disappointing compared to the Australian release - the film is a barebones release with none of the extras on other territories' DVD issues of the film, with only a widescreen transfer of the film. Unfortunately the burned-in unremoveable subtitles aren't on the black border of the 2.35:1 widescreen transfer but actually over the picture area itself, which is an occasional nuisance, especially when it ruins one smutty sight gag with Bath cocking a pistol.
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on 23 August 2010
Throughout his career as a secret agent James Bond has had to encounter a range of ruthless villains from Dr. No, Scaramanga, Ernst Blofeld and Jaws but none have quite hit their target with the precision of the two OS117 films. Both are exceptional parodies and combine a keen eye for pastiche and embarrassingly uncomfportable non-PC humour.

The first film opens with a prologue filmed in black and white which mercilessly lampoons the dire British war films of the 1950's before jumping forward ten years to 1955 in the eve of the Suez Crisis where the suave Hubert Bonisseur De La Bath is dispatched to resolve the mystery of a missing colleague and a Soviet board full of arms. During the course of the adventure, our hero manages to trample on the toes of all the different factions involved in the plot whilst in Cairo whether it is upsetting Islamic fundementalists, his female companions, royalists and the Nasser regime. Seemingly inept, a stream of sticky situations are overcome in almost accidental fashion in a variety of amusing situations that tip their hat to films such as Indiana Jones as well as Bond. Significantly for a comedy, the plot is well contrived and fits in nicely with real historical events. As with the original films, the girls are very glamorous too.

I think it is only fare to say that Jean Dujardin is a comic actor of some genius - a kind of French Peter Sellars. His facial expressions and demeanor illustrate just how ludicrous the character of James Bond really is but this is done with some affection that I would say both of the OSS117 films are "must sees" for any Bond fan. The nuances of the old Sean Connery films are perfectly captured and attention to detail, whether it is the clothing, the cars, the music (whether on screen or incidental) and the locations make this seem like something made fifty years ago. The jokes are really funny and this is a far better and more intelligent film than any in the Austin Powers series.

Foreign language films are a turn-off for many people and what is funny in one country is often lost in translation. This film is an exception and one I would thoroughly recommend. Hopefully there will be a third in the series.
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on 23 February 2012
I learned about this movie after seeing the Oscar nominated The Artist (DVD + Blu-ray Combo)also starring Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo and directed by Michel Hazanvicius.

Dujardin bears an uncanny resemblance to Sean Connery which makes him a natural choice for this role. You may be surprised at how gifted he is as a comic actor, and how funny this movie is. Based on a series of French books called OSS 117 by Jean Bruce which appear to spoof James Bond, it's somewhat of a combination James Bond and Inspector Clouseau, and has a wonderful French ambiance, mood and soundtrack. The attention to detail is incredible.

The first of over 100 OSS 117 books was written 4 years before Ian Fleming's James Bond book. Jean Bruce has the same initials as James Bond. The books have been translated into 17 languages and sold over 75 million copies worldwide.

Curiously, even though Hubert Bonnisseur de la Bath is a secret agent, people seem to know who he is. When a fellow agent and his best friend is killed he gets sent on a mission to Egypt and goes undercover as the owner of a chicken factory. An attractive young lady (Berenice Bejo) is his liaison, and he immediately rubs her the wrong way with his insensitive comments. As he hunts for clues he inadvertently upsets the local Muslims, when he silences a Muezzin who wakes him up with his yelling.

And there are Nazis too.

Another movie with the same lead actor and director is OSS 117 - Lost in Rio [DVD]. I prefer the Cairo movie as it has both actors from The Artist. I do recommend both movies. It's interesting to watch Dujardin's independently moving eyebrows in these movies.

Dujardin has since since engaged an eyebrow coach and finally mastered and disciplined those wayward brows in his sublime majestic turn as Georges Valentin in The Artist, which has been winning huge during awards season with 10 Academy Award nominations and seems to be destined for Oscar glory. Recently it won 7 BAFTA Awards including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Screenplay, Music, and Cinematography.

OSS 117. The one man who can handle it all. If you wish to watch the trailer paste OSS117movie into your browser press CTRL and hit enter.

I think you will love it and I hope this was helpful.
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on 31 August 2017
Not as funny as I thought it would be
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on 20 February 2009
What a great film! Funny, smart and devilishly well made, it is easy to see why it has been such a hit in the UK as well as France. Jean Dujardin is terrific as the blissfully inept French agent blundering his way around Cairo. Great period feel, wonderful music and entertaining all round.
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on 15 July 2014
I had heard a lot of good things about this film and had also seen 'The Artist' in the cinema which I thought was a brilliant movie.
The set up was promising and of course the same 2 main actors Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo were also the 2 leads in The Artist.

Of course with the popularity of 'Mad Men', it could seem that, all you have to do is dress a few good looking people in some nice 50s/60s clothes and hey presto you have instant on-screen gold.

Disappointingly I have to say that I think this really didn't work out at all on this occasion. I have seen and liked a fair bit of French Cinema too - the French often have a unique way of storytelling, dialogue and relationships.

However overall I found this movie was lacking in any depth. I understand it was in many ways a spoof and a homage to a previous age and/or genre of spy movies. I don't think the 'spoofed' and 'goofy' elements in this movie were at all funny or relevant either and they quite quickly became annoying.

If you want to see this sort of film, then it would probably be better to actually instead watch an old film (sorry none come to mind right now, well 'Casablanca' might be the obvious one).
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on 8 August 2009
Outrageously un"p.c" and very funny, this gem of a film may only appeal to a small minority of viewers, but a discerning minority who can appreciate a stab at political correctness and po-facedness regarding religion and politics. I was frankly surprised that the film-makers "got away" with many of the jokes,and I take my hat off to them.

Loved the lead actor, who I found annoying at the beginning, but he really grew on me. Clever film, a bit barmy, and quite refreshing to see the French laughing at themselves.

Thoroughly recommend it.
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