I salute anyone who has made it through three lockdowns without the aid of Netflix.
At less than a tenner a month it has paid for itself many times over in keeping me entertained and sane during months trapped at home.
From the bad craziness of Tiger King, through the sublime magic of The Last Dance, to the stylish underdog drama of the Queen’s Gambit I’ve been happily glued to my screen without feeling like I’m watching junk (okay, Tiger King excepted…)
The latest show to capture me hook, line and sinker is French crime caper Lupin.
It combines the slick heist thrills of Oceans Eleven with the surprise twists of a Christopher Nolan movie and the one-step-ahead smartness of Sherlock Holmes.
Omar Sy shines as Assane Diop, brought to France from Senegal as a child by his father, who is quicky framed as a jewel thief by his employer, the wealthy and powerful media magnate Hubert Pellegrini and hangs himself in prison. A quarter of a century later the grown up Assane, now a talented and charistmatic con artist and thief, discovers the truth about his father and sets out to gain revenge.
His heists are inspired by Arsene Lupin, a fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise created in 1905 by Maurice Leblanc. Athough he sits on the opposite side of the law, the tales of his ingenious and daring burglaries hold a similar place in French pop cuture as the Sherlock Holmes novels do here.
In the first episode Assane sets out to steal a priceless diamond necklace once owned by Marie Antoinette – the very necklace his father was accused of stealing.
He uses a job as a janitor at the famous museum to lay the groundwork for his plan. His thefts all utilise plot lines from Leblanc’s classic novels and his aliases are anagrams of Arsene Lupin.
The police are baffled by the string of high value crimes, with only a single junior detective having a faint inkling of what’s afoot – until he’s ordered to put away his children’s books.
It’s clever, funny and altogether riveting stuff and has rightly been watched by more than 70 million people since it was released a few weeks ago, making it even more popular than The Queen’s Gambit.
The whole cast does well but Omar Sy is mesemerising in the lead role. His magnetism is such that you easily forgive the fact none of his disguises really hide the fact he’s a handsome 6’3” man with a very recognisable million Euro smile.
Naughty Netflix has a dubbed American version as its default setting, however a quick tinker switches it to subtitled French for a far more satisfying viewing experience.
Netflix has completed a 10-episode first season, however only the first five have been released. I guzzled through them in less than a week and the cliffhanger ending of the fifth episode has left me gasping for more.