OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner06/11/2008

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 99 mins

Beautifully made, superbly written and frequently hilarious comedy that plays like a French version of Get Smart (the original series), with a terrific comic performance from Jean Dujardin.

What's it all about?
Set in 1955, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies stars Jean Dujardin as Hubert Bonnisseur de la Bath, better known as French secret agent OSS 117, who's assigned to Cairo when his best friend and fellow agent Jack Jefferson (Philippe Lefebvre) is murdered. Posing as the head of a poultry company, OSS 117 liaises with sexy local contact Larmina (Berenice Bejo) and quickly uncovers a nest of spies that includes operatives from Britain (Laurent Bateau) and Russia (Constantin Alexandrov), as well as a vengeful princess (Aure Atika) and a rabble-rousing imam (Youssef Hamid).

The Good
Director Michel Hazanavicius perfectly recreates the look and style of 1960s spy movies, complete with furniture-smashing fight scenes, brightly coloured sets, scantily clad women, a groovy soundtrack and an over-reliance on back-projection. Essentially, this is a French version of 1960s TV show Get Smart (which was itself a James Bond spoof) – indeed, the bumbling but oblivious OSS 117 and Maxwell Smart could have been separated at birth.

Jean Dujardin is hilarious as the womanising agent who also has some suspiciously fond memories of his old friend Jack (the wistful flashback scenes are extremely funny). He's also a gifted physical and verbal comedian, delivering his lines in perfect deadpan style and capable of reducing the audience to giggles with just a raise of his eyebrow or a flash of his boyish grin (weirdly, he looks a lot like Gene Kelly).

The Great
The script is packed with brilliant lines (a lot of work has gone into the translation) and laugh out loud sight gags, such as a fight with live chickens, or Hubert's reaction to a sexy catfight. The humour is also delightfully non-PC, though it makes some interesting points at the same time.

Worth seeing?
OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is a delightfully funny comedy that's a treat from start to finish. Is it too much to hope for a sequel?

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OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (15)
OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 24/10/2017 10:35

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