Last week, I wanted a heist film and was deeply let down. So when people started telling me about the new Netflix show Lupin I was cautious. I didn’t need to be. Lupin is fantastic.
Lupin is a French heist show that follows Assane Diop (Omar Sy), a man inspired by the classic French story’s of Maurice Leblanc and his character Arsène Lupin – the gentleman thief.
I immediately got sucked into this show. It felt fresh, exciting, and compelling – everything you want in a show like this.
The show is centred around a specific diamond necklace – one that previously belonged to Marie Antoinette. I think what makes this show so smart is that it’s not just about stealing this necklace for the money – there is a deeper meaning to this specific piece of art and a deeper revenge to be had than just getting the money.
I really don’t want to get into the plot because you have to watch it yourselves. But let me tell you about of the production.
First off – this is a French show. I’m not a fluent French speaker (the Canadian french education system failed me) but it was a very easy to show to follow along with subtitles. Plus episodes will hold your attention so it’s easy to get sucked in and you will not mind giving this show your full attention.
I really love shows set in Paris (for example – The Hook Up Plan) – it is a beautiful city and you can do a lot with it. However, I really appreciated how Lupin filmed across the city and didn’t just focus on the ‘pretty’ Paris that tourists know. We got suburbs, neighbourhoods, both glitzy and seedy parts of town. It felt like a well rounded portrait of the modern city.
I also loved that they Assane Diop was not your traditional or stereotypical French man. Assane is the son of a Senegalese immigrant, much like Omar Sy is. It doesn’t shy away from the racism Black people experience in France and we watch Assane experience racism (things like explicit comments and micro-aggressions) throughout the show. We need more stories with strong Black leads so I’m all in on this one.
There are countless examples of “modern retellings” and this show took that idea and pushed it. It’s not a “modern retelling” of the stories of Lupin – it’s about a man who loved the Lupin books and is inspired by them. It gives the writers interesting source material, but allows them to take the storylines in different directions. It’s a really smart way of doing it.
From a technical standpoint, there were excellent choices. The use of steady-cams, the lighting, the editing, the sound design – all brilliant. I haven’t enjoyed a show like this in a while.
Lupin has only five episodes out so far grouped as ‘Part One’. There is a ‘Part Two’ coming but as of now, a date has not be released. I’m a bit frustrated by this because part one ends on a major cliffhanger. I really want to know what happens to Assane. But I’m equally glad they split it – we need more things to look forward to right now and I’m happy to have something I’m excited about.
So if you are like me and have finished Lupin and need something else to watch, I have a few other related recommendations:
Money Heist (La Casa de Papel)
Money Heist is a brilliant Spanish heist show that came out in 2017. If you missed it during it’s original release, go back and watch it now. The show is about a group of criminals lead by a man known as The Professor (Álvaro Morte). The group breaks into the Royal Mint of Spain, and launches an ambitious plan. It is a cat and mouse game, it is brilliant, it is wild, and I was obsessed with it. The whole cast is brilliant. The are some fantastic female characters and storylines (Nairobi forever!). I could not stop thinking about this show – so if you need a show to distract you from the world, watch this one. It’s on Netflix.
The Oceans Films
I can rewatch the Oceans films over and over and over. The original 1960s one with the Rat Pack, the remake trilogy with Clooney and co, and the incredible women centric Oceans 8 – all are so much fun. These are my cozy, always a win, can watch with anyone movies. If you somehow have gone through life without seeing them – basically these are heist films that involve a group (staring A-List celebrities) as they work to steal something major. If you only have time to watch one, start with the 2001 Oceans Eleven staring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy García, Bernie Mac and Julia Roberts. But if you have time to watch two, Oceans 8 is my personal fav. Search them out – they are on various streaming sites.
I’ll recommend Bodyguard to almost anyone. This BBC drama follows veteran David Budd (Richard Madden) as he acts as the Personal Protection Officer to Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes). Unlike the other heist films, this is about uncovering someone else’s plot. It is super intense, be warned, but it will suck you in. It’s a modern whodunit in the best way possible. It’s currently streaming on Netflix.