Lupin: A Review of the Netflix Series

Most people have seen a magician perform and have been awed in one way or another by them.   Even as someone who knows magic is trickery and misdirection you still wonder, how did they do that?  I remember as a young kid on a field trip, I watched a magician pull my friends card out of the center of an orange and we couldn’t stop talking about it the whole ride back.  Being a magician may be just an act but a good magicians entertainment value is something that really shines on the big screen.

Lupin is a new two part series on Netflix that was filmed and created with a French cast.  The show is loosely based on a fictional book series called Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar by. Maurice Leblanc, which followed a gentleman burglar (magician) named Lupin in the 1900’s.  Throughout the show we see a lot of references to the story and several of the original gimmicks and illusions are recreated by modern day Lupin (Omar Sy). Lupin is also led by French director Louis Leterrier who directed fan favorites like Now you See Me (2013) and The Incredible Hulk (2008).  Leterrier’s experience working with the theme of magicians in Now You See Me translates well into Lupin which merges the world of mystery and drama.  

References to the classic are scattered throughout the series.

The show starts off with a bang and shows the audience a huge heist which target’s Marie Antoinette’s necklace inside the Louvre.  However no heist is too big for gentleman burglar (magician) Lupin and he makes this heist of the century seem like another work of art. This heist felt very real and it didn’t consist of all the cliches we see in most modern day heist and robbery films.   Illusion and trickery are present throughout the film, but the writers couldn’t bring themselves to leave the audience in the dark.  The writers put constant flashbacks throughout the show to either explain how Lupin did something or to bridge the gap between Assanes’ past before he was Lupin.  I appreciated the extra storytelling but it seemed at times like the flashbacks were almost a crutch used by the writers to clear up plot holes and develop characters that weren’t vital to the main story.  All in all the story was pretty well told and after part one’s major cliffhanger I am still looking forward to the release of Lupin Part deux.

One of the show’s greatest strengths was the connection between certain characters which made the audience feel gratitude and love for them.  This is also done through flashbacks and one of the characters that really resonates with audiences may be Assanes father.  Though he only appears in the show through flashbacks the audience can still feel the pain he went through which gives a better understanding as to why Assane is fighting so hard for his father.  Diop’s friend Johnathan is developed through old flashbacks with Assane at school and so is Claire.  Flashbacks like these were welcoming to me and a much better use then just retelling certain scenes with a different perspective. Assane may be doing illegal things to prove his father’s innocence but you will find yourself cheering for him after seeing what he is up against.  

Omar Sy and Etan Simon as Lupin and Asanne.

The final part I wanted to touch on was how I want more foreign films in this category to show on Netflix.  Lupin was dubbed but I watched the whole thing in French with English subtitles.  If it weren’t for the obvious language variation and the landmarks present all throughout Paris I may have even thought this was just another film done by westerners.  The way it was filmed felt like any other show on Netflix and still seemed to come through in terms of bringing something new and fresh to the table.  This show really puts French directors and actors in a good light and may help to expunge the idea that westerners will never appreciate foreign style cinema.  Lupin is full of twists and turns and after watching part 1 I think part 2 will really hit it out of the park and bring the series home. If you can’t tell, I think Lupin is a great show and I highly recommend it.  

Gabriel Pribilski

My name is Gabe Pribilski and I am a lover of fascinating films from Tarantino to Kurosawa as well as a sports fan. I am currently pursuing an associates in science at Harper College and haven’t decided on a major.  I am simply a college student who hopes to get the most out of Harper and continue with my love for film and sports while doing so.

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