Omar Sy stars as Assane Diop, looking every bit the contemporary version of Arsène Lupin, famed French fictional gentleman thief.
Enlarge / Omar Sy stars as Assane Diop, trying each bit the modern model of Arsène Lupin, famed French fictional gentleman thief.

Netflix has kicked off 2021 with a bang, due to its new collection, Lupin, starring French actor and comic Omar Sy. This pleasant modern reimagining of a traditional character in French detective fiction, Arsène Lupin—a gentleman thief and grasp of disguise who was basically the French equal of Sherlock Holmes—is an enormous hit. In line with Deadline Hollywood, Lupin is on observe to prime 70 million households in its first 28 days of launch, beating out two different latest Netflix smash hits, Bridgerton (63 million households) and The Queen’s Gambit (62 million households).

(Some spoilers under, however no main reveals.)

As I’ve written beforehand, Arsène Lupin is the creation of Maurice Leblanc, who primarily based the character partly on a French burglar/anarchist. Leblanc was additionally accustomed to the gentleman thief featured within the work of Octave Mirbeau in addition to E.W. Hornung’s famed gentleman thief, A.J. Raffles, and he additionally knew about Rocambole, a personality whose adventures have been recounted in a collection of tales revealed between 1857 and 1870 by Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail.

Relentlessly pursued by a detective named Ganimard, Lupin is captured stealing a lady’s jewels on board a ship. Though he’s imprisoned, he in the end escapes earlier than standing trial and goes on to drag off many different colourful heists. In a June 1906 story, “Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late,” Lupin meets the growing older detective, though for authorized causes—Arthur Conan Doyle objected—the title was modified to “Herlock Sholmes” when the story was included within the first guide of collected tales. The Sholmes character appeared in just a few extra tales afterward. All informed, Leblanc wrote 17 novels and 39 novellas that includes Lupin.

The Netflix collection is the creation of Louis Leterrier, who directed the 2013 heist thriller Now You See Me, wherein a band of magicians pulls off ingenious robberies. So it is simple to see why he could be drawn to this undertaking. Per the official premise: “As a young person, Assane Diop’s life was turned the wrong way up when his father died after being accused of a criminal offense he didn’t commit. 25 years later, Assane will use Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar as his inspiration to avenge his father.”

We meet the Senegal-born Assane (Sy) whereas he is working as a janitor on the Louvre, surrounded by art work value thousands and thousands. Presently on exhibit is a jeweled necklace that after belonged to Marie Antoinette, upfront of a public public sale to promote the piece to the very best bidder.  It was this not too long ago recovered necklace that his father, Babakar (Fargass Assandé ) was falsely accused of stealing by rich financier Hubert Pellegrini (Hervé Pierre). Assane is out for revenge for his father’s eventual suicide. After duping native gang members into pulling a decoy heist, Diop disguises himself as a rich potential purchaser and crashes the public sale—and in the end walks away with the necklace.

That is only the start of the story, as we study extra about Assane’s historical past—together with his relationship with childhood sweetheart, Claire (Ludivine Sagnier), the mom of his son—and why he has modeled his schemes on the exploits of Arsène Lupin. Components drawn from varied Lupin tales are cleverly woven all through the collection, most clearly “The Queen’s Necklace”—the title of the pilot episode, which contains a number of plot components of the unique story and in addition gives the inspiration for the title of Assane and Claire’s son: Raoul (Etan Simon). Captain Romain Laugier (Vincent Londez) and one other detective, Youssef Guedira (Soufiane Guerrab) are a part of the group investigating the Louvre heist, and each share traits of Ganimard.

Guedira can also be a Lupin uber-fan; he is the one one within the division to note the similarities between Diop’s work and the fictional gentleman burglar (“the strategy, the panache, the fashion, the expertise!”). His co-worker, Lt. Sofia Belkacem (Shirine Boutella), is unimpressed with this perception: “What’s subsequent? D’Artagnan and the Three Little Pigs?” Different Lupin tales clearly referenced—and sometimes explicitly talked about—within the collection embrace “813,” “Seven of Hearts,” “Arsène Lupin in Jail,” “The Escape of Arsène Lupin,” “The Mysterious Traveler,” and “The Hole Needle,” the latter two of which characteristic closely within the closing episode of the season.

The collection is briskly paced, with out sacrificing character improvement, capturing the essence of every character in deft strokes. The solid delivers robust performances throughout the board, most notably Anne Benoit as disgraced journalist Fabienne Beriot, who went after Pellegrini for his corruption and failed. Now residing alone in poverty along with her little canine (aptly named J’Accuse, who barks every time he hears the title “Pellegrini”), she finally ends up becoming a member of forces with Assane in hopes of lastly bringing down the financier. Benoit solely seems in a single episode, however her arc is among the many strongest.

Nevertheless it’s Sy’s Assane who anchors the collection because the quintessential gentleman thief for the twenty first century. Assane is aware of learn how to exploit racial stereotypes for the aim at hand: his pores and skin colour renders him invisible as a janitor on the Louvre, whereas making him stand out when he poses as a younger multimillionaire on the public sale. (“You underestimated me,” Assane says to an antagonist at one level. “You noticed me, however you did not actually look.”)  He is charming, suave, well-read, and really, very sensible, but by no means effete, since Sy additionally imbues the character with athleticism and a assured physicality. He is equally at residence ordering high-quality wine in a elaborate restaurant or going toe-to-toe with a would-be murderer.

Truthfully, the one flaw with this primary season is that it’s far too brief—a mere 5 episodes—and ends with a type of maddening cliffhangers that Netflix is changing into infamous for. Given Lupin‘s smashing success, I am fairly assured we’ll be seeing extra of Sy’s enchanting gentleman thief sooner or later.

Lupin is presently streaming on Netflix, and with simply 5 episodes, it is a simple binge. In French with English subtitles.


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