Sunday, August 22, 2010

One A Week Reviews #37: OSS 117: Lost In Rio

A delight reviewed for I definitely recommend this one...


The pride of French intelligence, Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath – code named OSS 117 has a new mission that takes him to the Bossa Nova Brazil of the 1960s. Teaming up with a sexy Mossad agent, he sets out to capture a Nazi blackmailer with an embarrassingly long list of World War II French collaborators. With a jubilantly retro score and production design, along with flair for the cinematic vocabulary of the 1960s, the filmmakers again have the perfect man to send up Western arrogance, French chauvinism, and bigotry in general with biting satire and scathing with.

Do you like the Swinging Sixties? Nostalgic for men in dapper suits, brylcreem and shorty robes? Do you miss Sixties spy films? Even if you haven't seen the European OSS 117 series, any fan of old James Bond, Matt Helm, or Derek Flint is going to be familiar with the flavor of OSS 117: Lost In Rio. Fans of Maxwell Smart aren't exactly left out in the cold, either.

From an opening featuring our super-spy partying with a gaggle of chippies that's interrupted by a gang of armed men, OSS 117 sets a breezy tone of girls, guns, and unflappable Sixties cool. A sequel to OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, this second outing stands amusingly alone. An absurdist plot kicking off with a former Nazi, some microfilm, and a trip to Rio quickly gets complicated with killers with speech impediments, killer crocodiles, Mexican Wrestlers, Big Top flashbacks, silly costumes, and a general breezy, chuckling approach to the murder of henchmen and armcandy. OSS 117 has jet-setting adventures and even learns and grows a little along the way as he faces the changing world of the Sixties.

Are Americans all viewed by the world to be as bluntly vulgar as the Bill character in this film? I hope not. He's at least matched by OSS 117's offhandedly sexist when teamed with an Israeli Army Colonel in a miniskirt. The causal jabs at racism, sexism, and antisemitism add to the retro feel of the proceedings, and actually goose the humor along rather than stilt it. OSS 117 thuds thru scenarios, an oblivious caveman in a glossy world. Playing the attitudes of the past with tongue firmly in cheek, the film mocks the genre and changes in culture. Surprisingly, the humor translates for fans in any language.

OSS 117 is a pleasure to watch. The movie has that Sixties glamor down pat. The suits are great, the gals are hair-sprayed and Pucci'd, and the cars are authentic, if not flashy. The visuals play with splitting up the screen for jazzy emphasis of stylish character entrances as we jet from one exotic location to another. There should be more cocktails and cigarettes, but no film is perfect.

OSS 117: Lost In Rio is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen in French with English subtitles. Included are a Making of Featurette, Blooper Reel, Deleted scenes and a set of trailers for other European films.

Nudity, violence, free love, drug humor, unenlightened attitudes on everything, OSS 117: Lost in Rio is a retro delight with humor that crosses language barriers to delight fans of Sixties Spy films everywhere. The look, tone, and cast are perfect while things get sublimely zany towards the end. Give it a spin and you won't be disappointed.


No comments:

Post a Comment