Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

A Prophet

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on October 27, 2010 at 9:47 PM


Jacques Audiard


IDEA:   A French-Arab man gradually rises to the top of the mafia after spending time in prison.

BLURB:   The title, A Prophet, refers to the central character’s almost superhuman ability to curtail and manipulate his surroundings. He is one step ahead of the game; observant, penetrating, always mapping out a plan that will catapult him to the next level. And by story’s end, he will have honed the powers to become a mafia mastermind. This is where Jacques Audiard’s film is at its strongest, when it examines the process by which one young, nubile man enters the prison system and comes out less than five years later a hardened, muscular criminal. The man, Malik, played with a mercurial exactness by Tahar Rahim, makes a great character to study. As he rises in prominence and stature through the guidance of a Corsican gang, we see a lonely Arab immigrant trying to find a place to settle into his own, pursuing a criminal life as his only means of survival. Cutthroat and vigorously made, the picture ultimately runs out of steam as its overlong runtime wears on. What begins as a terse prison drama becomes convoluted and confusing, a structurally messy, yet worthwhile, venture.

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