OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006)

Rating: ★★★★½
Set in 1955, this is the movie that did what the Austin Powers franchise could not: it managed to spoof the spy genre while staying true to the form of classic spy films.

Jean DuJardin stars as Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, agent OSS 117. DuJardin’s performance is absolutely brilliant. Agent OSS 117 looks suave and sophisticated, but beneath his fashionable tux beats the heart of a well-meaning but clueless imbecile. On assignment in Egypt, moments after meeting her, he manages to insult his contact (the stunning Bérénice Bejo as Larmina El Akmar Betouche) by bursting into incredulous laughter when she mentions that over a million people speak Arabic. “Silly girl, do you know how much a million is?!” The insults don’t stop there. OSS 117 is clearly a man with unnaturally high self esteem, and some of the best comedic moments stem from his overconfidence.

This spoof hits all the right notes, winking at western colonialism and our sexist past. Clueless racism is also poked fun at, as OSS 117 asks the Egyptian foreman at his “cover” job as a chicken importer how many children he has. “Eight, nine?” he inquires, his voice dripping with concern and sincerity.

The action sequences acted as the straight man in this movie, and the choreography for the fight scenes were enjoyable to watch, but one of the best surprises about this film was its cohesiveness. Most parodies are a string of jokes loosely bound together to make a movie, but OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies feels like a complete film.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Aure Atika, Philippe Lefebvre, Constantin Alexandrov
  • Directors: Michel Hazanavicius
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, DVD, NTSC
  • Language: French, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews here.