To Lupine, Lupine and a half


by George Kay

A Netflix series in ten episodes from January 8

Give a child a book and their life will be changed. When the work in question stages – and in majesty – a charming and malicious burglar, how can we be surprised that the young spirit who devours its adventures does not feel the desire to follow in the footsteps of his new hero? ?

Assane Diop, son of a master chauffeur (a frank scoundrel that the latter), grew up in the shadow of the burglar gentleman imagined by Maurice Leblanc. So much so that, now an adult, he endorses the personality of Arsène Lupine to avenge his father’s death. The latter, accused of the theft of a prestigious necklace, committed suicide in his cell.

Chameleon like his model, hatching stratagems as complex as equations with six unknowns – which only he knows – Assane / Arsène storms with phlegm, courage and ingenuity. And, like all lone wolves, a rather frightening individualism and an ideology of vigilante whose morals leave something to be desired.

Vividly filmed on an invigorating soundtrack

Shot in today’s Paris, filmed with vivacity on a tonic but not too intrusive soundtrack, this Franco-American series created by the British George Kay (Criminal) benefits from the blockbuster know-how of director Louis Leterrier (The carrier 1 and 2, Elusive).

Certain particularly virtuoso scenes are thus proving to be jubilant, such as the dizzying proliferation of bicycle delivery men crisscrossing the Luxembourg Gardens in order to conceal Assane’s flight under the eyes of stunned police officers.

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Omar Sy lends the protagonist his wrestler’s silhouette and his impavidity: as we are far from the look, smelling daddy’s cinema, the tasty Robert Lamoureux on the big screen or the dandy Georges Descrières for television (read below) ! To the point that the viewer sometimes wonders if the actor plays poorly or if, precisely, this neutrality adds to the mystery of a character with such a multiple identity that it becomes almost evanescent.

The human body, charming or detestable, ambiguous or sympathetic, is appreciated much more in the beautiful gallery of secondary characters, embodied with talent by Ludivine Sagnier, Hervé Pierre (high-flying villain), Nicole Garcia or Antoine Gouy.

A fiction that hits the mark as soon as it does not take itself too seriously

Divided into ten episodes, the plot begins under the very glamorous sign of the auction of the famous queen’s necklace, which was at the heart of a dark sentimental and political affair under the reign of Louis XVI. Led at full speed, this first chapter skilfully and lightly uses flashbacks revealing key after key crucial information to uncover the hero’s motivations.

→ CRITICAL. “Lupine III: The First”, a supercharged gentleman burglar

The refined use of different temporalities is one of the major assets of this fiction, which hits the mark as soon as it does not take itself too seriously and plays the card of pure entertainment. But when the clouds gather on our modern Lupine and the wounds of childhood invade his mind and the screen, the rhythm suffers and the demonstration becomes a tad heavy.

Of course, it is perhaps lazy to expect nothing but humor and brio from Arsène Lupine, and how can we not subscribe to the quest for depth and psychological sensitivity? To achieve such a goal, the series lacks a je ne sais quoi of finesse and its lead actor lacks the spark that makes the difference.



There are many films, in Europe and Japan, in which Lupine steals jewelry and delights hearts. Among the pioneers, The Worldly Thief with Max Linder (1909), Arsène Lupine vs. Sherlock Holmes (1910) or The Teeth of the Tiger with David Powell (1919). A few years later, the great John Barrymore played Arsène Lupine (1932), a role which the insolent Jules Berry also took on in Arsène Lupine detective (1937). There followed no less than three adventures from the Japanese studios from 1950 to 1955, before in France Robert Lamoureux brought his elegant flair to the character in The Adventures of Arsène Lupine (1956) then Signed Arsène Lupine (1959). Tasty, Arsène Lupine vs. Arsène Lupine pits Jean-Pierre Cassel against Jean-Claude Brialy (1962), long before Romain Duris rubbed shoulders with it in his turn. Arsène Lupin (2004).


Georges Descrières gave all his letters of mischievous nobility to the beautiful Arsène in a spicy television series broadcast from 1971 to 1974 – we also remember the nonchalant voice of Jacques Dutronc in the credits. François Dunoyer took up the torch in 1989 in The Return of Arsène Lupine then The New Exploits of Arsène Lupine but without the magic working quite …


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