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'Lupin: Part 1' - A Fanboy Reviews

The French Netflix heist series.

By Sam GamblePublished 2 years ago 4 min read

I'm an absolute sucker for a gentleman thief story. A slick and fast heist dripping with style, plenty of double crosses, and a grand reveal at the end; all taking place within a temple to the finer things of life? Sign me up, I'm in.

Lupin tells the story of such a man. A French language serial brought to you by Netflix, this particular assignment is personal for the thief as he attempts to steal a necklace that belonged to Marie-Antoinette.

To clarify, I switched the show back to it's original French language and stuck the subtitles on, I find dubbing difficult to follow along with personally, as a man who has had to deal with out of sync audio for a lot of his professional career, I can't stand when lips don't match up with what they're saying.

At two episodes in, it's clear that this show has a different approach to it's source material. In a similar way that Sherlock is a development of the Conan Doyle books for a new age, this takes the source material and uses it's trappings to tell a deeply personal and intelligent thriller that hooks you in straight away, using the original Lupin tales as inspiration for how this character acts and conducts his life.

But it's easy to draw comparisons on the two TV shows. However, Lupin is slightly more emotionally mature in it's approach. Whilst lacking some of the stylistic flairs of Sherlock, it more than makes up for it with it's characters. Over the five episodes, there is not one character that feels cheap or one note. Every character that's introduced has a relatively full arc, and you understand their intentions, even if it is just for one episode.

Assane Diop, our main character, has a deep thirst for revenge but you can tell that he thoroughly enjoys the lifestyle he's carved out for himself. By the end of the series, you start to feel the pull between living in the fantasy, and the need to start taking some responsibility for his actions and his conduct over his life. It doesn't stroll into the classic 'one last job' territory. It doesn't feel like one last job, but it does feel immensely high stakes.

And Omar Sy, the man playing him, encapsulates a surprisingly youthful energy, making great big moments out of being told he's going to be a dad, but also becoming stone faced when that same family is in jeopardy, or when someone dare tarnish the name of his father, who's life is at the centre of this whole show.

The chemistry between Assane and the mother of his child is a refreshing look at co-parenting for a modern age. You can tell, before they start delving into flashbacks, that there is an immense history there. They're friends, and they've got a great deal of love for each other. But where they are in their lives at the moment just isn't right for them to be together. It's good to see a relationship like this where they can still laugh and joke together, not just for the kid, but also because they genuinely like each other.

But circling back around to the style of this show, I found the sound design to be a little unimaginative. Each episode has the main story in the present day, and a flashback of some kind to when either Assane was a child, or to a point later in his life. Each one is accompanied by the same exact noise with little effort made. Granted, in a story structured in this way, it's difficult to keep it feeling fresh going back and forth all the time, there could've been some more inventive methods of transitioning between the two timelines.

The cinematography is nothing to write home about either. Definitely serving a function, but not challenging anything more than that. To draw the comparison again, Sherlock's cinematography was always used to push the intelligence of the central character into the forefront and make us feel like we understood his thought process. In Lupin, there's no great reveal that feels like all of the pieces were put in place over the course of the episode, with the exception of the pilot. But, then again, there is no great heist after that point. Instead, Assane is much more improvisational in his approach to getting away with his plots.

So, overall, I had a really good time with the show. It's relatively clever, with a personal and engaging story, but it's lacking a unique character which could really make this show stand out against the backdrop of modern adaptations or inspirations of classical literature.

A second part is confirmed to be coming, and in true fashion a good cliffhanger is definitely set up. Does it work as one condensed series? No, if this was it, it would be deeply unsatisfying. But I am intrigued enough to come back for the second part.


About the Creator

Sam Gamble

Film reviews, movie-making articles, and more. Follow a fanboy's journey in exploring pop culture and everything else around it.

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