Released in the USA in May 2008 this French film is a deadpan spoof of classic 60’s spy films. OSS 117 is the title and code name for the lead character, played perfectly by Jean Dujardin. (Picture here as his character us learning to Mambo with lovely co-star Berenice Bejo.)
OSS 117 is sent to Cairo after the agent already in place goes missing and is considered assassinated. His mission is to find out who killed Jack Jefferson, OSS 117’s best friend, discover the fate of a missing Soviet ship full of arms, investigate local islamic terrorists out to overthrow the government and protect the French interests in the region. You know, the typical stuff that James Bond does before breakfast.
Oss 117 thinks he’s Bond. This is the 50’s. He dresses in the height of fashion, he knows every woman wants to bed him and he utterly clueless to just how thick he really is.
Jean Durjandin plays Sean Connery but with just the right amount of overacting. He clearly studied Connery’s movements and mannerisms, then repeated them in a larger broader fashion for comedy. The satire works spot-on. He delivers puns and quips that no one thinks is funny save himself. He routinely misses vital clues while self absorbed with some tiny detail that matters to only him, such as ‘Has the car been washed recently?’
Even with the subtitles getting the way of some subtle verbal performances, this film was a real treat and one I am likely to pick-up and add to my collection.