Kicking off an extensive slate of exciting originals for the year is French export ‘Lupin’, a series which is inspired by the famed fictional gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, a character conceived by French novelist Maurice Leblanc.
‘Lupin’ tells the story of Assane Diop (Omar Sy), a powerful and wealthy lone-wolf type figure who embarks on a mission to find out the mysterious truth about his father’s downfall. As the series name suggests, Assane mimics the traits of Arsène Lupin and masters the art of disguise and hiding in plain sight to delve deeply into the 25-year-old mystery stemming from his own childhood. The motive? A necklace worth over $20 million Euros, once belonging to Marie Antoinette (!!!) and publicly declared stolen two decades ago, is ‘found’ again and gifted to the Louvre by the filthy rich Pellegrini family.
The opening scene sets the precedent for the entire show, contrasting the immaculate and sparkling shot of the Louvre in the late evening with the darker and less glamorous behind-the-scenes look at janitorial staff arriving for their duties. The show seamlessly flicks back and forth between the past and present, revealing Assane’s troubling and modest upbringing and his personal connection to the necklace and the Pellegrini’s, ultimately revealing that behind all these exhilarating heists, there is a much deeper, darker narrative.
Omar Sy is absolutely brilliant as Assane and portrays him with just the right amount of playfulness and emotional depth to hold an audience and carry a series without stealing too much focus from the story. The first half of the 5-episode series is packed with some sick-ass theatrics and sequences that will 100% convince you to quit your job and pursue a borderline criminal career. However, as expected, a little of that novelty wears off towards the back end of the season and we’re left with some slightly anticlimactic revelations behind the Diop family drama. In saying that, the storyline and personal involvement is a refreshing change from the typical financial motives that we see in similar crime heist shows, and the minimal inclusion of any soppy relationship drama aligns well with Assane’s straight-thinking mindset and journey.
All in all, ‘Lupin’ is a thrilling and refreshing start to 2021, as we all (so far) remain filled with hope and vigour of a great year to come. In only 5 short episodes, ‘Lupin’ combines theatrical novelty with a darker narrative yet still remains compelling enough to be classified in the thriller genre (debatable, I know). There is an understated and restrained tone of suspense and anticipation which makes ‘Lupin’ an easily watchable yet mentally stimulating series – and if you can’t already tell from the subtext, I would highly recommend this for all.
Rating: 9 / 10