Watch Lupin (Netflix): It’s Lupin Week at Dirt! All week we’ll be talking about the new show, which takes a very old French story about a gentleman thief and turns it on its head in a commentary on the heist / action genre.
1. It’s like James Bond without the toxic masculinity.
Lupin the show is based on the stories of Arsène Lupin, a gentleman thief and master of disguise created by the French author Maurice Leblanc in 1905. In the role of the thief, we have Assane Diop (played by Omar Sy), a Senegalese immigrant to Paris who is trying to clear his late father’s name of a theft he didn’t commit. The episode plots always hinge around elaborate heists and tricks that Assane sets up, to steal a necklace or trap a detective, for example.
Assane is suave, well-dressed in suits or athleisure when he’s not undercover, the target of several women’s affections, prone to nice restaurants, and has a very cool apartment / command center. Basically James Bond-style action without the shooting people or casual misogyny.
2. The scenery is cool.
Lupin is set in Paris: the Louvre, public housing developments, mansions, and arcades. Assane’s best friend Benjamin Ferel, the guy who saved him from bullies at his fancy private school, owns an antique store in one of those 19th-century Parisian malls where every glass door hides treasures. There are a few hints that Benjamin sells ill-gotten goods, too — that Assane steals? Somehow a clutch of classical statuary and artifacts have made their way into his lair.
3. Omar Sy is great.
Though the cast as a whole is fun, the show is really carried by Assane alone, and that means actor Omar Sy. Sy has appeared in a few American action movies — he played Bishop, whoever that is, in a 2014 X-Men movie — but is pure leading man in Lupin. The role is deeper than action hero, between Assane caring for his son with his ex-girlfriend, mourning his father, and dealing with racist stereotyping of immigrants in France. It’s fun to watch the actor move between these modes but flip back into the mysterious thief in an instant.
4. There are only 5 episodes.
It’s a short watch. The end of this release of episodes (can you even call it a season?) leaves us all with a cliffhanger until the second batch, but it’s kind of nice to finish something so quickly. The show also isn’t so complicated as to leave you pondering deeper mysteries: When you turn it off, it’s over.
5. It’s the new monoculture.
Netflix reported that Lupin will be watched by more than 70 million accounts in its first 4 weeks, the kind of scale the service hasn’t hit with an original production since The Witcher (a very bad and yet weirdly satisfying fantasy action show based on a video game). That means it’s bigger than both Queens Gambit and Bridgerton. So if you’re not hearing about it from friends yet, you will be soon. — By Kyle Chayka