Sentenced to six years in prison, Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim) is alone in the world and can neither read nor write. On his arrival at the prison, he seems younger and more brittle than the others detained there. At once he falls under the sway of a group of Corsicans who enforce their rule in the prison. As the 'missions' go by, he toughens himself and wins the confidence of the Corsican group.
I'd heard so many recommendations for Un prophète from people with good taste, on Letterboxd and before I joined, that at some point I forgot that it's a two and a half hour prison movie. An extra-large helping of a genre I usually avoid. Fuck.
Not long after Malik's arrival in gaol though, it stops being an account of claustrophobic, intrusive routine whilst isolated amongst thugs - and becomes a mesmerising character drama about the men stuck in this big concrete box for years, with the intense focus of Audiard's earlier films honed to master craftsmanship. And the violence was not nearly so graphic as that for which I'd been steeling myself.
Un prophète is a formidable film in every…
The idea is to leave here a little smarter.
I missed Jacques Audiard's 2010 Oscar Nominated Best Foreign Language Film three years ago and I regret it now. I knew it was obviously good by the multitude of high ratings it was getting from Letterboxd users, but I had no idea how much I would love the film. Of course I've always been a sucker for crime dramas, but I wasn't expecting such a fresh and original story in such an unfamiliar setting.
The "how prison changes a man" story has been done numerous times before, but I don't recall ever seeing one like this. The manner in which Malik El Djebena's (Tahar Rahim) character is transformed throughout the…
My PhD thesis in a film. Perfect.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
La odisea de Malik El Djebena -de cero sacrificable y muerto de hambre a persona digna y capo de capos- es la épica criminal de la década.
Sin aspavientos ni clichés, pero con una pulsión siempre acezante, Jacques Audiard crea un poderoso drama carcelario no ajeno al arrebato poético ni a la emoción entrañable. Las actuaciones de Tahar Rahim y sobre todo Niels Arestrup, como César Luciani, el jefe corso de caída shakespereana, son antológicas. Ojalá Audiard se anime y haga de Un profeta la primera parte de una magna trilogía, como señalara alguna vez en una entrevista.
Nota al margen: tras quedar con los nervios destrozados por su tortuosa ascensión a jefe de jefes, cómo no querer abrazar a El Djebena cuando la caravana de coches lo escolta al ritmo de Mack The Knife mientras intenta un promisorio y merecidísimo ligue.
Time hasn't made me more lenient with this film.
The first half an hour is almost perfect in the build-up to Malik’s first murder. 30 minutes tense of atmospheric and wonderfully effecting film making, cinema at its very best. The remaining two hours fail to keep the interest. Instead a prophet trades up its greatness (sans Tahar Rahim’s wonderful performance) for an insipid rags-to-riches crime thriller in prison. Too long, too by the numbers, and nowhere near worthy of the plaudits that were heaped upon it. Be it a realist alternative al a Gomorrah or not, this is NOT a modern classic. Now the director’s earlier film, A Beat That My Heart Skipped, there is an Audiard film that deserves more recognition.
This film is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I couldn't tear my eyes from the screen the entire way through. I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it.
¨In exchange I offer you protection; If you don`t kill him, I`ll kill you.¨
Jacques Audiard directs this great French prison film which is perhaps the best gangster movie IÂ´ve seen since The Goodfellas. It has some great scenes combining violent action sequences with a character driven plot. Audiard has created a masterpiece; the entire film takes place mostly in the prison and he worked with ex convicts in order to set the right mood. Un Prophete (A Prophet) was nominated for Best Foreign Film in the Oscars and lost to the Argentinean movie, El Secreto de Sus Ojos, which was also a great character driven film. Audiard not only directed the film, but he also co-wrote the adaptation of…
One of the 10 best movies I've seen in the last 5 years. Essential.
@Camdun_Roar: Great acting by people I hope to see much more of. I totally get the Goodfellas comparisons. 7.75/10
A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin.
A Prophet is to Scarface what Gomorrah is to The Godfather: it removes any of the romanticism and gloss that is attached to those characters and lifestyles. A Prophet is about a young Arab man who winds up in prison and eventually rises to the top of the criminal underground. A Prophet brings a chilling reality to cinema, prison is not a nice place, crime and a criminal do not bring a lavish life even if you're at the top. You have to be paranoid, smart, ruthless and have prophetic foresight or you'll wind up dead.
Great movie, reminded me lot of scarface with the rising to power, but always contrasted by discrimination, which in this one is much more notorious and a bigger part of the mood.
A Prophet tells the story of a young Algerian man named Malik who is arrested and sentenced to time in prison. He isn't there long before he's sucked into the criminal hierarchy of the prison.
The film I was reminded of the most during A Prophet was City of God, despite being completely different in tone, style, and pacing. Both are crime films where one can clearly so the inspiration from previous films of the genre, but both also work as completely original, bold, and exciting works. The performances from Tahar Rahim and Niels Arestrup are fantastic with both of them having great arcs and great interaction with each other. Jacques Audiard directs with a great degree of confidence and…
A coming-of-age story.
Malik was alive. Even in prison, where we are told again and again that life stops, he was alive, truly. He is presented to us at first as a boy with no past, nothing for him outside of prison. And yet he manages to connect with the world both inside and outside. He becomes a true man who shapes his own life decisively.
Reflections after watching this movie:
Life continues regardless of what you do. If you choose to go along with it and do what you feel is necessary, then you will have a true life. Not necessarily good nor necessarily bad, but filled with experiences. I think that's the most valuable thing.