CHENNAI: Stylish, sleek and thrilling, Netflix’s new show, French series “Lupin,” is a spinoff from a cult character created by writer Maurice Leblanc in 1905. Often seen as the French answer to Sherlock Holmes, Arsene Lupin was a master-thief-turned detective.
In the film, Omar Sy (“The Intouchables”) plays Assane Diop, who replicates the methods of Lupin, often called the “Gentleman Burglar,” having read and re-read a book on Lupin, becoming a master of disguise and sleight of hand.
The five-episode series is set in modern Paris, and opens with a shot of the illuminated pyramid at the Louvre. Inside the museum, we first see the painting of Mona Lisa before the camera pans to a gorgeous diamond necklace, which was presented by French Emperor Louis XVI to Queen Marie Antoinette in the fictionalized series. Missing for 25 years before it is finally traced and brought to the museum to be auctioned, Diop steals it in a brilliantly executed heist.
Directed by Louis Leterrier and Marcella Said, “Lupin” recounts how Diop and his father emigrate from Senegal to make Paris their home. Working as a chauffeur for a wealthy but avaricious Parisian family, it transpires that his father is accused of stealing the necklace from their palatial mansion years before. Diop is shattered when he learns that his father has killed himself in prison, and decides to take the necklace in revenge, finely balancing his underground life with a seemingly happy existence with his ex-partner (Ludivine Sagnier) and young son (Eaton Simon). Brilliantly executed flashbacks are woven throughout the series to help viewers make sense of Diop’s motivations.
“Lupin” is not just a crime caper, but also explores deeper issues of racial prejudice. Endearingly, father-son relationships are also explored, with Diop’s relationship with his father and his own son used as a vehicle to push the riveting story forward.
Richly crafted, “Lupin” demands your undivided attention with its adrenaline-pumping action sequences and a gripping storyline. Sy is brilliant in the lead role, and races into the character with extraordinary conviction. What tends to bog down the pace of the series is the police investigation, some of which could have been dispensed with.
Netflix is yet to announce the date for season two, but anticipation is bound to grow.