The French sequence will get off to an exhilarating begin as Assane plans an elaborate heist on the Louvre, the place a storied necklace is about to be auctioned off. We study that Assane’s father, Babakar — a widower who immigrated to Paris from Senegal together with his son — died in jail after he was falsely accused of stealing the necklace from his rich and highly effective employer. “Lupin” weaves Assane’s tragic previous together with his present-day deceptions and the inspiration behind them: Flashbacks present a teenage Assane turning into fascinated with Lupin after studying Leblanc’s 1907 story assortment, “Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar.”
As Assane learns extra about his father’s alleged crime and conviction, his schemes play out in splashy, thrilling and, often, wildly unrealistic methods — which is to say “Lupin” is, at first look, your typical heist sequence. What makes the present really compelling is its delicate commentary on race and xenophobia. We see it from the present’s opening scene, which reveals Assane reporting to the Louvre for work as a janitor, alongside a bunch of largely Black and Brown contractors. It’s a placing picture that turns into central to his deliberate caper on the Louvre; Assane tells his accomplices that his employers see him “however they don’t actually look” at him.
“Everybody on that aspect of city, everybody on the highest whereas we’re on the underside, they don’t look,” Assane says. “And due to that we’re going to be wealthy.”
Racism equally permeates scenes from Assane’s childhood. When Assane first meets Madame Pellegrini, whose husband employs Babakar as a driver, she initially doesn’t acknowledge him, locking the door as Babakar and Assane strategy her automotive. Her teenage daughter objectifies Assane upon assembly him, asking if it’s “true what they are saying about Blacks.” After Babakar’s loss of life, the orphaned Assane attends an unique non-public faculty (surreptitiously paid for Madame Pellegrini); his classmates taunt him, calling his pores and skin “a fancy dress” and joking that they didn’t know the college admitted “janitors.”
As an grownup, Assane anticipates the racism he experiences from these round him and makes use of it to his benefit. A few of his deceptions depend on the probability that he shall be mistaken for different Black males — together with the detectives assigned to research the heist on the Louvre. Different cons play on the discomfort White individuals really feel in terms of race and racism. Posing as an IT staffer to get entry to the corrupt police commissioner who investigated his father’s case, Assane feigns offense when his credentials are questioned.
“Lupin,” the most recent in a string of works impressed Leblanc’s gentleman thief, has been a well-liked addition to Netflix’s lineup. It landed on the streamer’s Prime 10 checklist in a number of international locations — together with the USA and France — following its Jan. eight debut, turning into the primary French sequence to take action. Based on Deadline, the present is primed to prime early viewership for “Bridgerton” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” two of Netflix’s most-watched latest choices. (Half 1 of “Lupin” ends on a nail-biting cliffhanger however a post-credits promo guarantees “Half 2 is coming quickly.”)
The well-reviewed sequence has confronted some criticism for its focus on the French capital’s predominantly White circles — a call the filmmakers recommended, in a latest New York Occasions characteristic, was intentional: “I favored the ‘gentleman thief’ facet loads however I needed to subvert it and provides it a social angle,” French director Louis Leterrier, who helmed the primary three episodes, advised the paper. “I discovered the concept of a 6-foot-2 Black man sneaking round in each excessive society and the underworld fascinating.”
British screenwriter George Kay, who created and wrote the French-language sequence, advised the Occasions that Assane’s targets “are the French institution and the old fashioned.”
With Lupin as his muse, Assane maintains an ethical code at the same time as he cons his method throughout Paris. One in every of his early crimes, proven in flashback, seems to contradict that code. Posing as an undercover detective, he persuades an aged girl to present him her most valuable valuables to thwart a supposed burglar. It’s a criminal offense seemingly unbefitting of a gentleman thief till we get the backstory of the girl’s treasures, which embody a uncommon Fabergé egg.
The girl tells Assane that her husband “assisted with the extraction of diamonds within the Belgian Congo.” “The great previous days,” Assane says with a figuring out smile. Ignoring the brutal repercussions of Africa’s diamond commerce, the girl notes that “the locals have been sitting on a fortune and so they didn’t even notice it.” She tells Assane that she and her husband “simply helped ourselves.”
“Their loss, proper?” a still-smiling Assane says.