‘Lupin’ review: Netflix heist series is all style, wit and warmth

A still from ‘Lupin’  

There are different ways of mining the classics; Bridgerton does it one way and Lupin another. The latter is infinitely better. Inspired by Maurice Leblanc’s gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin, the show follows the adventures of Assane Diop (Omar Sy), a master of disguise and all manner of civilised criminal behaviour, as he tries to clear his father’s name.

Assane and his father, Babakar (Fargass Assandé), move to Paris from Senegal looking for a better life. Babakar gets work as a chauffeur with the wealthy Pellegrini family. The head of the family, Hubert (Hervé Pierre), is autocratic and brusque, his wife, Anne (Nicole Garcia), is kinder and his daughter, Juliette (Clotilde Hesme), shows a teasing interest in the 14-year-old Assane (Mamadou Haidara).

When a fabulous necklace that once adorned the doomed queen, Marie Antoinette, and now belonging to the Pellegrini family goes missing, Babakar is suspected. Even without hard evidence, Babakar is put in prison where he hangs himself and Assane is orphaned.

Twenty-five years later, the queen’s necklace comes up for auction at the Louvre and who should be in on the proceedings but Assane? The necklace is stolen and the police are running in circles trying to find the thief who apparently spirited away the necklace under the highest security.

  • Creators: George Kay, François Uzan
  • Starring: Omar Sy, Vincent Londez, Ludivine Sagnier, Clotilde Hesme, Nicole Garcia, Hervé Pierre, Soufiane Guerrab, Antoine Gouy, Fargass Assandé, Shirine Boutella, Etan Simon
  • No. of episodes: 5
  • Duration: 42 to 52 minutes
  • Storyline: Inspired by the gentleman thief Arsene Lupin, a man tries to clear his father’s name

Though police captain Laugier (Vincent Londez) and Lieutenant Sofia (Shirine Boutella), follow conventional leads, their colleague, Guedira, (Soufiane Guerrab) makes the Lupin connection.

Through the five episodes of the show, we learn how Babakar hid a message to his son in a book of stories about Lupin. We also spend time with Assane’s growing up, how he was sent to a good school by a mysterious benefactor and Claire (Ludivine Sagnier) befriends him when all the other posh students try to put him down.

Claire and Assane continue their relationship and have a son, Raoul (Etan Simon). However, Assane’s erratic ways put too much strain on the relationship and the two lead separate lives. We also learn of Assane’s first meeting with Benjamin (Antoine Gouy) in school and how the two become the best of friends.

Assane believes Babakar was framed by Pellegrini and he is determined to prove his father’s innocence. In his quest he meets a journalist, Fabienne (Anne Benoît), who crossed swords with Pellegrini and came out severely damaged. Everyone is hiding something, including Anne, Juliette and the policeman in charge, Dumont, (Vincent Garanger) who is now the Commissaire.

A perfect weekend watch, Lupin is all style, wit, warmth and solid substance. A story about thrilling heists, fathers and sons, (Assane introducing Raoul to Lupin is touching) class and colonialization, Lupin has left us gasping for more.

Lupin is currently streaming on Netflix

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 2:49:32 AM |

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