In Review

Lupin review: the French series taking Netflix by storm

It’s good, slick escapism, and easily binged in a day

Created by the British writer George Kay, Lupin is “good, stupid fun”, and is predicted to become one of Netflix’s biggest hits, said Hugo Rifkind in The Times. Omar Sy stars as Assane, a young French man who sees himself as a modern-day Arsène Lupin – the gentleman thief and master of disguise created by the French writer Maurice Leblanc more than 100 years ago.

The books are old, but Assane is a new kind of French hero, said Sophie Gilbert in The Atlantic. He is the son of an immigrant from Senegal who came to France in search of a better life. Instead, his father was falsely accused of theft by his wealthy employer, and hanged himself in jail. Inspired by Leblanc’s books, Assane devises a series of devilishly clever schemes to avenge his father’s death, schemes that often rely on his tendency, as a black man in France, to either blend in or stand out in different contexts. 

Sy brims with charisma, in a series that offers a “refreshing twist” on two familiar stereotypes – the “uncatchable master of deception” and the “con man with a heart of gold”, said Adrian Horton in The Guardian. It’s good, slick escapism, and, being made up of just five episodes, it is easily binged in a day.

In its most recent financial report, Netflix revealed that since its release in early January, Lupin has hit No.2 in the streaming service’s US Top 10 list and ranked No.1 in countries including Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Vietnam and the Philippines. Netflix projects 70m member households will choose to watch the French language series in its first 28 days of release.

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