A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
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.
Part of 333 Great Directors Project.
Never tops the superb opening half hour, but consistently grim bag of tricks utilized well. Rahim superb.
This film is right in my wheel house interest wise, but just did not land fully. It is a superbly acted and directed film with an intriguing story and tense set pieces. But why didn't I love this film? That is the question that is bugging me because I really wanted to love it. It never grabbed me enough to get me through the thick plot, and overlong run time. (Adding from here on after a day of thought) The more time goes by, the more this film resonates. Scenes stick in my mind, and the characters do as well. While I still do not claim A prophet as a great film, it is certainly good.
A Prophet, Jacques Audiard's 2009 film, is a masterpiece on all levels. It succeeds at getting you emotionally invested in the main character and his friend. The script is beyond astounding, as the story itself is told brilliantly, and Audiard subtly ruminates on human nature and violence. The performances are raw and absolutely riveting. Audiard's direction is stylish and engrossing. This film is a masterwork
I blame GoodFellas. Un prophete is largely set in a prison and is therefore a prison film, but it is also part of the broader crime or gangster genre. Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim) is a new inmate, presumably a petty criminal, but by being in the wrong place at the wrong time he gets used by a powerful Corsican gang, led by Cesar Luciani (Niels Arestrup), to carry out a killing; he is protected by the Corsicans and becomes their gofer; he begins a sideline in selling drugs with Jordi le gitan (Reda Kateb) and then expands, directing an operation outside of prison; he makes use of Cesar’s outside contacts to further his interests...he finally leaves prison a powerful…
I remember being somewhat underwhelmed by this film when I first saw it five years ago. It's a solid film for sure, but not really my thing.
It's a crime drama with a few narrative flairs.
Things I learned from this film:
- Prison makes you better.
- Heroin is not that addictive.
- Killing someone will haunt you until you kill some more people.
Jacques Audiard is a genius.
From boy to man to prophet, Malik.
What is there to say? Jacques Audiard is a talented man.
"What's the risk?"
"There is no risk. Staying here is the only risk."
A Prophet is a very good prison film, but it's a little long and, unfortunately for it, I'd already seen Starred Up which, while a very different film, still affected me more with its story of a young prisoner who eventually sees another way to live his life.
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