The plot of this this two part French series set in Paris has its lead character highly inspired by the fictions of Arsene Lupin, a gentleman thief created by the writer Maurice Leblanc.
Babakar an immigrant black man lands a chauffer’s job at a wealthy businessman’s mansion. His son Assane Diop grows up reading Lupin stories from a book gifted by his father. How he translates these fictional stories into spectacular crimes, stylish robberies and a well-planned revenge is what the writers take us through in this two-part series.
All heists’ stories have one thing in common, style! And with a story that is based in Paris, the aesthetics are top notch. The show begins inside Louvre, an outrageously expensive necklace is about to be stolen. Our guy Assane is tall, handsome and strikingly dark in a white dominant scene. His personality demands attention, yet he is one amongst the crowd. First few minutes and you are already rooting for him. The narrative runs back and forth on multiple timelines. Assane’s childhood, his current burglaries and then in between goes back to explain the process of his crimes once they are accomplished. While this can tend to get confusing, but the fluid storytelling and the mere charm of Omar Sy as Assane keeps us glued throughout.
It’s an ideal world of a clear distinction between the good and the bad. You kill you are bad; you steal you are fine. There are no thought-provoking grey characters who will confuse you on whom to side with. You can comfortably watch the show rooting for our ‘hero’ all through and see him win consistently with poise. His disguises are funny yet clever. Despite his noticeable physique he gets away by putting on childish disguises like beard or a moustache. In his words “You saw me, but you didn’t really look”.
What I loved the most about the show is its simplicity, even when handling deeper conversations about racism and privilege, it remains sensitive but never gets too heavy.
With all the charm and magic to its credit, few episodes towards the end get too Bollywood for me. Our unarmed hero single handedly winning against a brigade of bad guys with guns was one of the cringe elements for me. Some episodes run too long with less action, but still not boring.
Omar Sy is magnetic and pretty much the main reason that despite its predictability he never lets the show fall into mediocrity.
Lupin is a mixed bag of mystery and fun. If you are someone with commitment issues to long running episode and shows, this one should be a relief. It leaves no cliffhangers by end of part 2, no violence, hardly any abuse and despite the high level of drama and suspense it still manages to be a pleasant watch.
Don’t miss the song at the end of season 2 which very nicely explains and glorifies the existence of our Gentleman Burglar.
Going with 3.5/5 for this one.