Reel Reviews | Lupin

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

A young man decides to live a life fashioned after the famous gentleman thief of the novels in the Netflix series, Lupin.

When Assane Diop was fourteen, his father Babakar, a refugee from Senegal, was arrested and convicted of stealing The Queen’s Necklace from the Pellegrini family for whom he worked as a chauffeur. Assane was thrown into the child social service system of France with only a book and his father’s gloves to keep him until a mysterious benefactor paid for him to attend an exclusive Parisian boarding school. While in school, Assane meets the love of his life and begins to perfect the techniques of the “Gentleman Thief,” Arsene Lupin, from the book his father gave him. Twenty-five years later, when the stolen necklace resurfaces and goes up for auction at the Louvre its sudden reappearance launches Assane into a quest for the truth about the conviction and subsequent death of his father.

Lupin is a series created by George Kay and Francois Uzan based upon the famous novels by Maurice Leblanc from the early 1900s. It stars Omar Sy as Assane Diop with Vincent Londez, Antoine Gouy, Soufaine Guerrab, Ludivine Sagnier, and Etan Simon rounding out the cast.

Omar Sy (The Intouchables, Jurassic World) has an acting reputation that is legendary in France, where this show is filmed and produced, and he does not disappoint here. The veteran actor Sy is charming, smart, and strong as the lead character. His charisma makes it easy to see him as the most recent incarnation of the classic thief whose adventures have inspired generations of films from Thomas Crown to Danny Ocean.

The show is quickly paced and very smart. Very few scenes are wasted in the telling of the story and the backstory that surrounds it. As with many television shows, the directors may vary, for this show Louis Leterrier (The Transporter), Marcela Said (Narcos: Mexico) and Ludovic Bernard (Lucy) all take turns at the helm. Each director holds tightly onto the central theme to communicate the overall vision perfectly. There are only 5 episodes in the first “part” or season with each running around 47 minutes in length making it perfect for binge-watching. The second season has already been greenlit so there is no need to worry about the resolution of the cliffhanger of the first season. The one small drawback is that the series is originally in French but the voices have been dubbed and if you have the subtitles on, the words don’t always match the dubbed voices.

Rated TV-MA for scenes of suicide, mild language, mature themes, and some violence, Lupin is a sleek and cool heist series that morphs into a crime thriller of dire proportions as Diop untangles a web that is frighteningly complex and dangerous. The series smartly banks of the skills of Sy and is well worth taking the time out to watch. It’s just criminally good.

Grade: B+