For its new series being produced in France, Netflix takes the myth of Arsène Lupin and offers him a contemporary reread in which Omar Sy revels as a thief. The result is loving entertainment for the characters.
In our opinion, the French series that Netflix has produced so far are far from shining. From the Marseille debacle to the clumsy La Révolution, including Family Business, Marianne or Plan Coeur, no series manages to provoke honest adhesion, most often overly artificial writing errors. But hope is alive and it is with curiosity and desire that we welcome a new kind of Lupine.
Before that, a small meeting session: Arsène Lupine appeared for the first time in 1905 under the pen of Maurice Leblanc. This undercover burglar would commit the most daring heist during the Belle poque in no less than eighteen novels and more than twice as many short stories. He has had many adaptations to theater, television or even cinema where his most recent appearance was from 2004, he was later played by Romain Duris. Not forgetting of course his ancestry with the acclaimed Lupine III, whose last film released last year was a little gem of an adventure. In short, more than a century later, his legend lives on and still inspires many.
Which brings us to our time when Assane Diop (Omar Sy), a huge Lupine fan, decides to use his hero’s methods to avenge the death of his father, accused of a theft he didn’t commit.
And if Arsène Lupine’s incarnation isn’t strictly here, he’s still everywhere. The writers took great care to respect Leblanc’s writing and every scene feels like a declaration of love for the original material. We can clearly talk about the method used – Assane has fun changing her identity according to her needs -, but also a direct reference to Lupine’s adventures; from the search for this child, revenge against the bourgeoisie no different from Arsene; and then there is this book that we pass down from generation to generation, to share these values. Without bearing the same name, Assane’s journey of vengeance and love can easily be compared to Arsène’s, thereby demonstrating a fine rewrite attempt of the feathers behind the series.
For starters, this is the first time the actor has actually managed to get forgotten behind the character. A truth of the game he saw him having fun like a child during the execution of his plan and found his serious tone soon after it became more personal. Just like the hero Leblanc. But maybe we can also see a clear resemblance between Arsene, Assane and Omar. The actor has a natural charm, funny gaze, and smile that fits perfectly with what is expected of him. In the same way that it’s now hard to imagine any Tony Stark other than Robert Downey Jr., we have to admit that Omar Sy was a larger-than-life Lupine, while he didn’t make it.
Omar Sy’s presence also enabled another tour de force: using racism to Assane’s advantage. It all starts with a sentence: “You see me, but you don’t see me”. A phrase that would be the origin of every man-thief punch. A cleaning team made up entirely of people from a minority that the guards ignore, the theft of gems from a bourgeois family that makes money on a Congolese farm, the exchange of black prisoners… this series makes perfect use of the unknown (or not) evil of society. to allow Assane to complete his revenge. Not credible?
In the first episode, the staging of Louis Leterrier (Insaisissables, The Incredible Hulk…) leaves no time for the plot to stop to begin the heist of the century. Subsequent episodes will be similar, managing to pose for the character while Assane takes a different punch each time, without falling into action dominance to hide the hole. Result: the first five episodes of this part connect easily and we don’t find it long. The climax of the ending comes to an end for us so we can only hope for one thing: the continuation! Fast !
Nevertheless, this assumed and enjoyable pastime cannot achieve its petty exploits without making some very destructive sacrifices. In the first place: his existing female characters for now are very few outsidetheir relationship with Assane. An obvious regret considering the potential roles played by Clotilde Hesme and Ludivine Sagnier. We hope that part 2 will be able to put them more in the spotlight.
Then comes, from our point of view, the most awkward scripted shortcut of the series which however includes quite a few: the cop played by Soufiane Guerrab. This one, a fan of Arsène Lupine, is quick to make the connection between Assane’s actions and the fictional characters. Chances of doing things too well and turning out to be a little silly. We prefer opponents with a more assertive analytical mind like L (for Death Note fans) or … Sherlock Holmes. Also, will Benedict Cumberbatch be available for crossover? We ask if…