A Prophet

Film Review by Gail Tolley | 18 Jan 2010
  • Un Prophete
Film title: A Prophet
Director: Jacques Audiard
Starring: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Hichem Yacoubi
Release date: 22 Jan
Certificate: 18

French director Jacques Audiard beats Scorsese at his own game in this remarkably assured and confidently crafted prison drama. A Prophet begins with Muslim teenager Malik (Rahim) arriving in prison to start a six-year sentence, illiterate and an outsider to the complex organised crime network that has a hold on the place. He is soon asked to carry out a murder by Corsican gangster and mafia boss Cesar Luciani, and gradually, over the course of his time inside, he ascends the criminal hierarchy. Much of the tension and drive of the film comes from Malik’s precarious position on the edge of this dog-eat-dog world, which could at any moment erupt into devastating violence. At two and a half hours you might expect the film to drag, but Audiard keeps the pace, ensuring that the film is nothing short of riveting. The final scene is also one of the most quietly effective shots seen in the cinema in years.