It’s a resounding success for the series Lupine, in the shadow of Arsene, released on January 8 on Netflix and which has since climbed into the top 10 of the most watched series in France and the United States; the series also boosted sales of Maurice Leblanc’s novels, now the second best seller on the Fnac site.
Omar Sy plays Assane Diop, a shrewd thief and professional con artist, driven by the desire to avenge his father who committed suicide after being accused of a crime he did not commit. To carry out his project, he was inspired by his lifelong hero, the burglar gentleman Arsène Lupine.
In the shadow of Assane Diop
The series revisits with ingenuity and lightness the romantic universe of Arsène Lupine without ever falling into an anachronistic re-adaptation of the work of Maurice Leblanc. No, Omar Sy is not playing a new Arsène Lupine. The character of Assane Diop is only inspired by it. He has admired Lupine since his father’s death left him as only company with this book, which he tirelessly rereads. It is therefore not Assane Diop who finds himself in the shadow of Arsène Lupine but the reverse. Perhaps one can reproach this misleading title which dangled with the admirers of Lupine a true modern re-adaptation of the adventures of the gentleman.
The series is therefore built on the character at the same time thief, illusionist and transformist of Assane Diop, which Omar Sy embodies brilliantly. The role appears to have been tailor-made for the actor, who delivers a remarkable performance. But the charismatic presence of Omar Sy unfortunately overshadows the other actors who are struggling to stand out. The characters are too superficially developed and the actors who play them fail to compete with Omar Sy’s performance.
Between reality and fiction
And Lupin is very inspired by the novels of Maurice Leblanc until transposing scenes of the story to our time, the story also evokes contemporary issues with subtlety. Racism, discrimination, corruption, the invisibilization of certain individuals, these people “that we see but that we do not really look at”, in short, the series interweaves with the imperious adventures of Assane Diop the ruthless reality in which he is projected.
The enigmatic character of the father, played by Fargass Assandé, complicates and enriches the scenario, making Lupin a successful suspense series. The few inconsistencies pointed out by the spectators who denounce a lack of realism are nevertheless in agreement with the universe of Arsène Lupine, which always balances between reality and illusion.
Until then …
If there was some apprehension surrounding the release of this new Netflix series, Lupin turns out to be a cinematic as well as literary success. It undeniably makes those who did not know the adventures of Arsène Lupine want to discover them. Hachette has even re-edited Maurice Leblanc’s novel and offers an edition that looks like an old book like the one Assane Diop has in the series. A nice way to thank Maurice Leblanc, of whom Arsène Lupine still manages to make people dream today…
Visual credits: © Public Domain