Complete list of the films Guillermo del Toro has recommended on twitter. Click the 'Read notes' button to see his…
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…
Since this breakout performance four years ago Tahar Rahmin has steadily continued to develop a reputation as one of the most exciting actors in Europe. His fresh-faced energy slots in perfectly with the gritty dramas he undertakes and as Malik El Djebena that youthful eagerness is on full display.
There is nothing particularly new about the story of a naive young man entering prison or the first time, only to evolve into a much smarter version by the time he is realised. What director Jacques Audiard thankfully avoids is a glorification of that process. Malik's arc through his prison sentence is carefully escalated through the years, not quickly draping him in the kings clothes ready to rule a new empire.…
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…
Winner of Grand Prix at 2009 Cannes Film Festival, A Prophet is a hard-hitting prison drama that borrows elements from various classics of its genre, is absolutely unflinching in both its content & narration, introduces the vastly talented Tahar Rahim in his breakthrough role, and is aggressive enough to rank amongst the most potent gangster flicks out there.
The story of A Prophet (also known as Un prophète) follows Malik El Djebena; a 19-year old petty criminal who's sentenced to six years in prison but soon finds himself caught between the two main factions, the Corsicans & the Muslims, until forced to side with the former. The plot covers his rise in the inmate hierarchy as he slowly gains the respect of…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
A prophet is a staggering work of brilliance that only gets better and better every time I see it. At first I thought it was just another depressing or difficult-to-watch film about life in prison, but it's so much more than that. It's about a guy with nothing to lose… who comes of age… explores the limits of his humanity… and rises to power. Yeah, that bizarre description only captures about 90% of what this film is about.
The story begins without telling us anything about this Algerian/French kid named Malik El Djebena"s background or who he is as a person. You do feel pangs of sadness for him because of how the other prisoners treat him and you get…
Epic and bleak prison saga with touches of the fantastic, refreshingly free of the overt glorification of sociopathy and violence that are de rigueur in Hollywood versions of this genre. Not without disturbingly violent scenes, but driven by character development , Tahar Rahim's performance expertly portraying Malik El Djebena's transformation from illiterate petty criminal.
The underdeveloped "Prophet" metaphor puts a hamper on the greatly orchestrated rise of a man past his small beginnings. If only the several prophetic and religious undertones shown were connected in some way to Malik, they would not feel like strangely separate moments in the story. It would also lend weight to the title, because Malik might be a success story but I cannot say with confidence that he is a prophet in any sense of the word.
Other than some confusing plot points and the random allusions, I thought this film was pretty great.
I should probably get back to The Sopranos though. This film brings back pleasant memories from the first season. But first I have to finish the Knick, the OJ documentary, Stranger Fiction, Lady Dynamite and You're The Worst. Then I'll go back to the Sopranos.
If you still haven't seen Mesrine, 36: Quai Des Orfevres, Mic Macs, Love Me If You Dare or any number of other fantastic, French films: A.) You have no excuse, because I've tried my best to hype them for you guys and B.) You're missing out on the some of the best films being made right now. Add A Prophet to the list of great French cinema that's beginning to leave the rest of the world behind. As a rule I'm not a big fan of the Frenchies, but for whatever reason they're on fire these days when it comes to film making.
Director, Jacques Audiard, delivers a gritty, simmering tale of prison life and a young prisoners rise to…
[...] Funktioniert "Ein Prophet" am Rande als Widerspiegelung der französischen Gesellschaft, als Sinnbild dafür, welche Folgen die Ghettoisierung der Großstädte wie Paris oder Marseille hat, nämlich dass sich Jugendliche, deren soziales Leben in der "normalen" Welt schon längst nicht mehr existiert, im Gefängnis eine neue Identität aufbauen können, so wird dem Film recht bald ein universeller Sinn zugesprochen. Der Filmtitel evoziert nicht ohne Grund eine religiöse Botschaft oder vielmehr eine religiöse Allegorie: Das Gleichsetzen der verschiedenen Weltreligionen mit Gefängnisgangs. Dabei repräsentieren die Muslime sich selbst, die Korsiker die Juden und Malik wird als Christus, dem Heiland, dem Propheten, wiedergeboren. Wenn Reyeb, den Malik am Anfang des Films auf grausamste Weise im Namen der korsischen Mafia töten muss, als Heiliger Geist in Erscheinung tritt, und später im Film Malik sogar brennend erscheint (brennender Dornbursch), dann gewinnt "Ein Prophet" nicht nur als gesellschaftskritisches Drama an Bedeutung, sondern ebenso als Auseinandersetzung zwischen den verschiedenen Weltreligionen. [...]
Gets more impressive every time I see it. The way Audiard constructs and Rahim performs the gradual transformation of the ever unassuming El Djebena from callow youth at the mercy of society and of his Corsican prison captors, to an increasingly powerful criminal force in his own right, is completely convincing in every detail. It's an incredibly well plotted film, carried off with a lightness of touch that masks a density and level of character detail that make it increasingly rewarding with each watch. You never get bogged down in unimportant details about the minutiae of the criminal dealings between the various groups the characters are connected to. The script gives you just enough information for it to make sense,…
My heart is still pounding minutes after A Prophet came to an end. This stunning crime film is truly a must-watch thriller.
3.5/4 or 9/10
I really wanted this to be "the French prison epic masterpiece" that it's been touted as in some circles, but I can't help but feel slightly underwhelmed by it all. I still quite enjoyed it - acting is stellar by the lead and key supporting characters and there are many great scenes from a directorial and visual standpoint including the blazing opener into a horrifying act thirty minutes into the film that seemed to signal the film from the get-go as a masterpiece. Alas, this is off-set by a couple questionable directorial choices along the way and the film ends up feeling overlong.
However, the poignant ending brings it back full-circle in a character study indicating how prison not only…
A compelling and entertaining tale of an unlikely rise.
A nice cast of tough guys makes this prison-movie very enjoyable.
This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…