This may be a show, but it counts just as much, and yes, I did watch this with the original French audio and English subtitles!
France has always been a pioneer in the film industry. Its latest hit Portrait of a Lady on Fire by Céline Sciamma is as iconic as its fundamental directors such as Agnes Verda, François Truffaut. But the latest French web series Lupin which premiered on Netflix recently has assuringly made its mark amongst the audience worldwide.
Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief, came into existence more than a century ago, in 1905, through the intellectual and creative genius of Maurice Leblanc. The credit of its brilliant re-creation on Netflix results from a collaboration between two screenwriters George Kay and François Uzan. In their narrative, we follow the Assane Diop (Omar Sy), an ardent fan of Lupin who has designed his identity and life around him. Diop's father, Babakar, was an immigrant and a single father who worked for Pellegrini's, a wealthy and powerful family. The family possessed a necklace of Marie Antoinette, and after its supposed disappearance, Babakar was framed as the suspect. This event resulted in Babakar's eventual suicide and the road for Assane to become the masterful thief, whose life's mission became a quest to transform himself into Lupin, steal the necklace and find out who was behind the death of his father.
From master thief to master detective, Diop must learn who was behind the death of his father
With a story as simple as this, one would imagine the series to be bluntly straightforward. However, in a mere total of 5 episodes, it's a whirlpool of events in each one. The story follows a maze-like system, where every time Assane assumes that he has finally found his answers, he is re-directed to someone else. The closer he appears to reach is the farther he gets; almost as if he is fighting against the current and every movement takes him away from the shore.
With so much unfolding in every episode, George Kay and François Uzan's wizardry keeps both Assane and the audience guessing. The cast ensemble is brilliant, with even momentary and brief appearances leaving a fundamental and unforgetful impression. However, Omar Sy (The Intouchables) seems to carry the story of his backbone, with his domineering presence taking up most of the story space. Sy is a brilliantly gifted actor with a remarkable charm and talent at his disposal, and above all, the camera seems to love him. So if you are still not convinced, Lupin is one of the best action/thriller/drama heist series to open your 2021 with. And with the world being where it is now, I like to believe that if you start the year right, hopefully, it will be carried forward all the way to the end.