Thrillers often try to outwit their audience. Viewers might predict an outcome, but a great thriller presents something, they never thought of. Like a Magic Show. You know something is going to come out of the Hat. You are not sure what. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series is a perfect example of how a smart narrative can trick its audience. Lupin created by George Kay and François Uzan for Netflix tries to create the same magic as Sherlock, but does it match the standard?
The story centers around its protagonist, Assane Diop (Omar Sy) who is inspired by a fictional thief named Arsène Lupin. The creators, therefore, have based Assane’s character on the character created by French Novelist, Maurice Leblanc. In the series, Assane Diop is an avid reader and has finished all of Lupin’s books. He walks further in life to enact the same, to become a Gentleman Thief.
Lupin ‘Season 1’ consists of 10 episodes of 40 minutes each. The storyline is set in modern times with gadgets and technology around while Assane makes a point that Lupin’s method of deception and disguise are still viable. The series is not about Lupin and its adventure but about a boy, Assane Diop who uses Lupin’s method and stories to avenge his own father’s death.
It is quickly established in the series that Assane’s father worked as a butler for a French Businessman, Hubert Pellegrini. His father was later framed for the theft of an expensive necklace from Hubert’s safe. Assane’s father couldn’t tolerate the shame and hanged himself in the prison. Assane makes his life’s pursuit to avenge the death of his father. For that, he initiates a number of robberies and kidnaps to unearth the truth. The viewers follow him on his journey to the truth.
Arsène Lupin has often been stated as a French Counterpart to Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Not sure about the literary works, but in a comparison based on Screen Adaption, Sherlock shines brightly. The Sherlock series created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for BBC was engaging and witty. It incorporated some amazingly designed scenes, a well-written character graph, and apt use of technology. The VFX was mind-blowing. I personally feel that Lupin lacks in each of the above-mentioned departments.
However, Lupin does have its heart at the right note and does produce some heart-whelming emotions in a few scenes. Unfortunately, these scenes are few and scarce. The narrative lingers a lot which spoils the thrill on screen. Assane Diop comes out of a Gentleman Thief of Modern Times and his immigrant status as a black man from Senegal works better for his character and character’s belief. The only disappointing thread is, Lupin fails to bring anything fresh visually.
There are only 5 episodes of Lupin that have been released by Netflix so far. I hope the drama, thrill, and comedy is above par in further episodes. The series is in French Language, so be subtitle ready.
Lupin ‘Season 1’ is streaming on Netflix.
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