In times of anti-heroes and anti-heroines, whose good intentions are corrupted by the means along the way, Netflix had with “Lupin” the good idea of rescuing a cool classic figure of our times: the good thief, the one who steals, but at the greatest whim, without hurting anyone.
If it sounded old-fashioned, there is the second trump card of the series that returns this Friday (11), with the final half of its first season, to tell the tricks of the protagonist behind to avenge his father’s death. The mythical French thief created by Maurice Leblanc in the 19th century has been reincarnated as Assane Diop, a son of Senegalese migrants, like so many France treats as second-rate citizens.
It is not little what Netflix has done as a cultural engine to bring more diversity to mass and globalized culture. Subverting stereotypes, multiplying nationalities of productions and breaking racial, linguistic or even aesthetic standards is already a legacy of the streaming platform, quickly followed by the competition.
Formulas and stories are the same. Seeing people of all kinds on screens, however, gives generations growing up with multiple screens better references than those subjected to the Hollywood-open-TV binomial (and, hey, even Hollywood and open-TV started to change).
In this sense, “Lupin” is close to “Bridgerton”, who put black actors to play European noblemen known to be white. Here there is not the same strangeness because it is a fictional character, but why even not that long ago we hardly saw black protagonists even in contemporary stories? So it is.
As for entertainment, the series continues to work well, largely due to the giant charisma of Omar Sy, the protagonist. In a faded cast, the mesmerizing presence of the French actor, son of a Mauritanian cleaning woman and a Senegalese worker, is able to hold the viewer back even when the story drags or slurs.
Sy’s Lupine, fan of Leblanc’s Lupine, is a gentleman like the idol, and with a nobler purpose — not that he doesn’t enjoy fooling the police, museum security, and other unwary. He just wants the rogue millionaire who unjustly framed Father Diop to be held accountable for his crimes.
On the way, he still only needs to get rid of a hired killer, the naivety of the villain’s daughter and the risks he brings to his own family, as the episode in which the plot was interrupted made clear.
Thus, the second part of the series takes a less cerebral path, with gunfire, knives, fire and chases. It’s not the essence of “Lupin”, and at times it feels like it’s going to derail. Fortunately, the last two episodes are back on track and we see an outcome in the best style of the character, with disguises, tricks and an aptitude for escape.
How does this man go unnoticed? Mystery. But that it’s fun to be fooled by it, oh yeah.
The final five episodes of “Lupin” are available on Netflix
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