Lupin arrives January 8 on Netflix.
By Josh Leichter
When I was first asked to review Lupin, I knew exactly one thing about it: It’s French. Now I say this as a sort of preface to my overall opinion of the show because there are a lot of people that are turned off by a show with foreign-language dialogue, and it’s not like there is anything wrong with that. People sometimes do not want to watch anything where they have to constantly look at the bottom of the screen to understand what’s going on. Or maybe they just want something that they can have on in the background while they do other things. I totally get that. Though this is one show where I might just try to push some people to get out of their comfort zone and try something new.
Lupin, while based on the French book character Arsene Lupin, is not a direct adaptation of the series, rather it uses the character in a rather unique way. Our main character, Assane Diop, is a “gentleman thief” heavily inspired by Lupin, whose adventures he read in his childhood growing up in France as a Senegalese immigrant. Following a life-changing event involving his father being framed for stealing a rare piece of jewelry, Diop devises a plan to clear his father’s name and expose those that framed him. While this may sound like a very basic plot, Lupin shines in the way that the show sets up our expectations and then goes in an entirely different direction. Full of twists, turns and holy crap moments that required me to pause the show to appreciate the great storytelling, Lupin makes itself original without relying too much on clichés or overused tropes that are common in the crime-drama genre.
Overall, I would say that this is one of the best shows for someone who is still uncomfortable with international TV shows because the plot never drags, the characters are well fleshed out, and the narrative is something many are already familiar with so there isn’t that feeling of confusion even if the show is in a different language.
So all that’s left to do is grab your croissant and coffee and try not to spill when your jaw drops over the 5 episode first season.
I give Lupin an A-.