Directed by Jean-Paul Salomé, starring Romain Duris, Kristin Scott Thomas, Pascal Gregory and Eva Green.
It would be a great table quiz question: name an Oscar-nominated English actress who has dubbed her own films in French? The answer is Kristin Scott Thomas and 'The Adventures of Arsène Lupin' gives English-speaking audiences the opportunity to see just how good she is in her second tongue.
Based on the novels by Maurice Leblanc, 'The Adventures...' introduces us to our titular hero, an ace jewel thief, a master of disguise, an expert kickboxer, a rogue and a charmer, but also a man of honour. After his father is apparently murdered when Arsène is a boy, the youngster dedicates himself to a life of crime and 15 years later is following his father's advice to "only steal from the rich, the powerful or thieves". But Arsène's comfortable existence robbing the fleshpots of French society is turned upside down when he meets Joséphine (Scott Thomas), a countess who is as cunning and wily as himself. Soon Arsène is plunged into a monarchist plot, a treasure hunt, finds his life in danger and is torn between two women, Joséphine and the pure-hearted Clarisse (Green).
While the late 1800s are beautifully recreated and Scott Thomas' onscreen allure is as powerful as ever, 'The Adventures of Arsène Lupin' is a little too madcap for its own good. With a corkscrew plot and set piece after set piece, Salomé is in too much of a rush with the storyline and the film's feel of period drama-meets-'Raiders of the Lost Ark' doesn't work as well as it could.
The cheeky grin and mischievous twinkle of Duris make him come across more like a sidekick than a leading man - endearing but not commanding enough. After two hours with him you'll be convinced you've seen a film with 100 more ideas than most blockbusters but is less satisfying than US big budget offerings.