OSS 117: Nest of Spies 2006 and OSS 117: Lost in Rio 2009

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Long before their Oscar-winning triumph with silent pastiche The Artist, director Michel Hazanavicius and his star Jean Dujardin did a similarly excellent job on spy movies with their OSS 117 films. The European version of Austin Powers, the OSS 117 comedies take their title from Dujardin’s secret agent, tangling with Nazis while wrestling with gadgets and sporting the same kind of 60’s cool that featured in James Bond films, and also the tatty glamour of the Matt Helm franchise with Dean Martin. The OSS 117 films capture the casual sexism and racism of older films with an admirably straight face, but there’s also a clear affection for the genre. Dujardin is a charming leading man, and these films show exactly why his Hollywood career is on the up.

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