Rating :   ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Categorisation: Crime drama

Availability:  Netflix –  French subtitled

Plot: Babakar is the father of Assane, a first-generation French-Senegalese boy living in Paris. He gives his son a French novel about a gentleman thief called Lupin. It is part of a classic book series that is well known and much loved in France. Soon after, Babakar dies in prison having been sentenced for the theft of a royal necklace that was once worn by Marie Antoinette. Following the theft, nothing is heard of the necklace for over twenty years. Assane believes his father was framed by his employer, the wealthy and unscrupulous Pellegrini. Haunted by the injustice, he becomes obsessed by the need to clear his father’s name. His audacious plan to steal the recently found royal necklace becomes a key element in this mission. Assane, a devotee of Lupin, has become a master of deception, closely basing his criminal activities on the antics of the fictional character. 

Filming and setting: Filmed in Paris, we get to see a lot of that spectacular city. There are many beautiful buildings used as backdrops to the action. We get to see the inside of the Louvre, along with many of the spectacular artworks on show. We see the Pont des Arts bridge where Assane gives his own son, Raoul, a copy of the Lupin book (that Raoul also becomes increasingly engaged by). Two hours from Paris, we also see Étretat‘s fabulous rock formations projecting out into the ocean. The township of Étretat is actually the setting of one of Maurice Leblanc’s Lupin stories, and the series takes advantage of this connection when Assane takes his son and his estranged wife to a Lupin festival that then becomes part of the plot. 

Cast:  Omar Sy is clearly the star of the series, and he plays Assane Diop brilliantly. Sy is well supported by an excellent cast, Ludivine Sagnier, for example, does a fine job playing Claire, Assane’s often put-upon wife. While it’s easy to warm to the character of Assane it is clear that he’s not exactly reliable on the relationship front, but the focus on family gives the series emotional heft.

Personal Comments: This French series created by George Kay and François Uzan has been a major success for Netflix, and early indications suggest it will exceed the ratings of The Queen’s Gambit and Bridgerton –  both big hits for Netflix. In fact, Lupin is already the most popular foreign language series since the hugely successful Spanish series, Money Heist. Kay and Uzan keep the tone of Lupin light, whilst also touching on serious issues such as corruption, including the control of the media by the rich in French society. Despite the overwhelming screen presence of Assane, the filmmakers skilfully illustrate racial blindspots as the character goes about his criminal activities – looked at, but not really seen in the predominantly White neighbourhoods of Paris. It’s a clever series, and the heists are compelling viewing. Surprisingly, the first series is split into two, leaving us in a cliffhanger at half way point. I can’t wait to see  the second half when it’s released later this year.

One Reply to “Lupin”

  1. For those of you who enjoyed the first series of Lupin, Netflix has just released series two. In five episodes, it’s easily binge-able!

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