Looting The Louvre
We begin episode 1 of Lupin with Assane Diop marveling at a necklace kept in the Louvre. He’s clearly plotting his next move while posing as a cleaner there. This necklace, as we soon find out, belonged to Marie-Antoinette and will be put up for auction in a week’s time. This happens to be the date Assane is going to make his move.
It turns out Assane is working with a trio of thugs who seem to hold influence over him. After threatening him over a balcony, Assane briefs Vincent, Kevin and Rudy over their upcoming gig.
He encourages them to head in as janitors. When the auction starts, they’ll have seven minutes to escape without being caught. If they can do that, and get away in a discreet, speedy car, they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
Just before the operation, we cut back to a very rainy Paris in 1995. A young Assane and his Father manage to bag a lift from a lady having trouble with her car. When they suave their way into getting a life, Assane pauses over the lady calling his Father a gentleman.
Assane is close with his Father too and clearly has bad blood with the Pellegrini family. When his Father is framed and thrown in prison, Assane’s Father subsequently commits suicide. This leaves Assane with quite the chip on his shoulder, muddied further by the fact he knows Juliette Pellegrini pretty well.
Back in the present, Assane arrives at the Louvre for the night under a fake alias. He’s cool and collected, ready to steal the necklace as our three stooges get into position.
Anyway, the auction goes ahead and right on cue, our trio of lackeys get to work overpowering the security. In fact, this entire stunt is really cleverly constructed, jumping back in time to see extra fragments of the past while jumping between Assane and the janitors as the heist goes ahead. The cameras are shut off and Assane immediately gets into position, winning the bid for Marie Antionette’s necklace for a princely sum of 60 million euros.
Kevin and Vincent worry that Assane will betray them and decide to make that very move themselves. As alarms wail, they hurry off with the necklace as Assane is left tied up in the back. They hurry away from the Louvre, joined by Rudy in a sports car, as police chase them while hot on their heels. Eventually they manage to run the car off the road… and straight back into the Louvre again.
As the trio are taken to the station, the officer on duty discusses Arsene Lupin and how the necklace incident reminded him of that gentleman thief. It’s a nice nod toward the present, as Assane is let go but with the inspector remaining suspicious of him. In fact, that nod toward Arsene Lupin is more than a nod. Assane has based his entire heist on this fictional detective.
We then jump back 2 weeks earlier as Assane hears news about the Queen’s necklace being found. Based on this, he sets to work getting a job as a janitor and intentionally using Vincent and the others for his own devices as all the pieces of the puzzle come together. The pièce de résistance? Assane switched the necklace around for a fake and actually stashed the real one in a bin inside the Louvre. Dressed as a janitor, he manages to steal the necklace and takes it out with the trash without anyone suspecting him.
As the episode closes out, Assane arrives at Claire’s house to pick up his son Raoul. As he does, the legacy continues as he hands over an Arsene Lupin book.
The Episode Review
What a great first episode! The back and forth flashbacks work a treat to flesh out more of the past while drawing inspiration from and paying homage to Arsene Lupin. Instead of trying to do a rehash of the same novels though, this one draws inspiration to deliver a really compelling opening episode.
The acting here is decent too, propped up by the prolific Omar Sy who’s certainly no stranger to big franchises. From the star role in Untouchable to Jurassic World and X-Men: Days of Future, Omar is a prolific name in France and certainly flexes his acting credentials here.
The cinematography is beautiful too, helped by the fact that Paris is such a gorgeous city and captures the surrounding scenery around the Louvre perfectly. If this is a taste of what the rest of the show will be like, we’re in for a real treat.