Lupin wasn’t in my radar until that first trailer came out. I thought it was interesting that they cast Omar Sy (X-men Days of Future Past) in the role of Arsène Lupin but I didn’t think I would make it past the first episode. When doing so I found out that Louis Leterrier (Incredible hulk) directed the pilot and George kay (Criminal, Killing Eve) created the show. One of these names was familiar to me. Then Ludivine Sagnier, Vincent Londez, Shirine Boutella, Nicole Garcia and Clothilde Hesme showed up, actors and faces that I’m familiar with, by the end of the first episode the series caught my attention.
Premise: Inspired by Maurice Leblanc’s stories on the adventures of Arsène Lupin, gentleman thief, Assane Diop sets out to avenge his father for an injustice inflicted by a wealthy family. Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Assane’s father died in prison, leaving his then teenage son orphaned.
Review: The story is clever without being too complicated. It rides that edge of not being too complex without being predictable. So both those who weren’t paying close attention, and those who did still get to be surprised. There are some twists and turns that keep things interesting. What appears to be throwaway lines or inconsequential scenes take their significance later on.
That first episode though, was a little hard for me to watch because it’s chock-full of micro-agressions, subtle racism and straight up racism. But racism and discrimination flows so naturally in the story that some people might not notice part or all of it. More so if they’re so used to this type of behavior that it doesn’t even register anymore.
From the pilot on, this type of behavior continues and it adds an element of realness to the show. I would’ve thought that the lead being a hulking black man would’ve made it almost impossible for him to get away with anything but in fact it kind of helped. As incredible as it sounds, and as suspicious as people were of him because of his skin color, they were blinded by it. Also the only guy who was onto to Lupin was dismissed and what do you know he happens to be of middle eastern decent. But in that case it comes across as non-racially motivated prejudice.
The series is not about racism, prejudice and discrimination but it does not shy away from it. I love the irony that Assane became a thief because he thought his father was one. In a way that wealthy family might have created the instrument of their own destruction. But it’s not as straight forward as that.
The cast is amazing, Omar Sy shines in the role, he’s brilliant. When you think about it, the cast is rather small but the story doesn’t feel contained. They’re all memorable in some way but Soufiane Guerrab is one of my favorites with Antoine Gouy.
Lupin is so engaging, nicely paced, it’s filled with social commentaries that does not impede the story and entertain.
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