"Lupine: Dans l'ombre d'Arsène" is the first part, consisting of five episodes, of the new series that bears the name of the famous gentleman thief. It is a French production, more specifically by the historic film company Gaumont, published on the platform Netflix. Such a bold name, flanked by the face of the protagonist Omar Sy, can make most people turn up their noses but since the trailer it is clear that the series takes inspiration only from the novels of Maurice Leblanc. Unfortunately, as we shall see, there is too little to be able to call it courageously "Lupine".
A sparkling first episode
The first of the five episodes is undoubtedly the best, designed at the table to show us the "Lupine" twist with the protagonist walking away from the scene with his prize. What unsuspecting viewers don't know is that in reality the plot is already over and that what awaits them in the next four episodes are the aftermath of that first shot.
Assane Diop is a young man from Senegal but raised in France, who saw his poor father framed for a crime he never committed. Raised in a good school with only Lupin's book as a memento of his parent, Assane transforms first into a crook, then a thief. Her entire life, including her marriage and her relationship with her son, reaches its climax when the same necklace reappears for the theft of which her father was convicted.
What do we find of Lupine in this series?
With such a provocative title and a guy holding Maurice Leblanc's first book on the quintessential gentleman thief, one would expect Assane to grow up in the spirit of Arsène Lupine's ideals, right? Unfortunately not. Despite the skill of Omar Sy, who remains an incredible interpreter and has no "faults" in this sense, this series of Lupine has little and nothing besides a book. Assane is a common thief, who flaunts the elegance of a gentleman thief on only one occasion. The main aspect they wanted to convey about Lupine is his ability to disguise but, on this weak basis, they could have changed the book to “The Count of Monte Cristo” and called the series Dantès. Even the seductive side of the gentleman thief is missing, in the face of a story (that of Assane's wedding) that makes him appear more in the shade than he should.
We consider Lupine only as a Thriller series
Let's take a stretch of the imagination and pretend for a moment that we have clicked on the Netflix play button because we are interested in the story of Assane Diop and not for the name, ok? Let's call the series “The truth about my father”, a very Italian title (cit.) And let's face it without the elephant in the room. We are talking about the story of a thief who wants to find out the truth about his father and why he was framed and, to achieve his goal, does not hesitate to break the law and morals. This will lead him over the years to compromise his relationship with his family and get into trouble numerous times. The greatest suspension of disbelief comes from the ease with which he changes identities without any kind of mask or makeup, in and out of prison. It almost seems that the French police do not keep any database of the condemned (or their agents, for one thing).
A history of racism
Since the "culprit" is not difficult to guess and, in any case, is revealed very quickly, it is not that there are immense shocks of surprise. But what we can enjoy is a nice story about French racism and its past colonial history. Perhaps this is the only aspect that is not treated lightly, as well as a sort of "camaraderie" that arises among those who come from the same country and find themselves in a country where, unfortunately, integration is still a long way off.
Is the second part worth waiting and watching too?
Honestly, it's very difficult to advise someone to wait for the second part. In all honesty the only thing I can say is to watch the first episode as if it were a movie, because all the magical part is in the pilot and then it fades away at an incredible speed.