A Prophet [DVD] (2009)
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Winner of the 2010 BAFTA Award for Best Film Not In The English Language.
Gritty, shocking and unforgettable, A Prophet is an epic crime masterpiece that can't be missed. A nineteen-year-old troublemaker starts a six year sentence in a notorious prison, a concrete hell where violence is the only language understood. Taken under the wing of a powerful mafia boss, he is initiated into a vicious and brutal way of life. As the years pass, he proves his worth, moving up the ranks within the prison. However, he has his own plans, and they don't involve taking orders from anyone. Using his ruthless cunning to extend his influence beyond the walls of the jail, he arranges drugs runs, hostage exchanges and violent assassinations. Once merely a petty criminal, he is soon on his way to establishing a criminal empire of his own. Directed by celebrated filmmaker Jacques Audiard (The Beat That My Heart Skipped), A Prophet has become an instant crime classic.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story follows a young man, thrown into Jail at the tender age of 19 - rejected by most of the prison gangs he eventually finds a home of sorts amongst a group of Mafioso; who tolerate him rather than embrace him. He spends his time doing chores for the gang and cultivating his mind, before eventually rising to power for himself.
As you'd imaging there are some rather brutal scenes in this film, but it is not through violence our hero rises to power. It's more through clever navigation of prison politics and knowing when to pick a fight and with who. Violence is not the main thrust here. The film is far cleverer than that, and you'll really have to watch and pay attention to understand what's going on.
Both I and my flat mate were glued to the TV last night as this epic unfolded - cursing the fact that we couldn't pull our eyes away or switch it off, despite its 155minute running time keeping us up well past our bedtime. The story, in this sense also, is just like scarface - epic - spanning many years and taking its time to unfold.
The way the story is told is excellent - with plans being set in motion and names dropped well in advance of exciting outcomes and anything happening - and I suspect it'll be even better on a second viewing. The acting is excellent, and you really like, admire, and feel for the star as his predicaments arise one after the other. You can taste the tension, and moments - particularly at the start - are terrifying, as you try to imagine what on earth you'd do if put in his situation.Read more ›
I don't think that Un Prophete is adequately described by those similes, as it stands up perfectly well on its own two feet. The most important fact that isn't obvious from those recommendations is that this is essentially a prison drama. Instead of telling an epic Disney-style story of The Shawshank Redemption, this film owes far more to the grimy realism of Taxi Driver, complete with the violence that is enough to make most people squirm a little in a couple of places early on in the film.
The whole film is a masterpiece to behold. I wouldn't necessarily call it a film to enjoy; it's not the sort of thing to watch with a bowl of popcorn in between a couple on a romantic night in. The acting leads are understatedly brilliant. I almost didn't notice the acting, simply because they drew me right into their world (even though one of the lead characters does look very much like Antony Worral Thompson). Every time I though the film was about to run out of steam, the director manages to pace the film perfectly, keeping me interested and immersed into the Machievellian power play being drawn out by the two leads, watching the shift in power, which culminates in a brilliant scene at the end, which has no audible dialogue but whose images convey flawlessly the shift in power and the usurping of the king.
The plot has been covered on here many a time so I won’t bore you with that again. I found this film an interesting enough watch but like many others I agree that it is simply not in the same league as the likes of Goodfellows, Casino & The Godfather etc, though we are not comparing like for like are we?
Considering its write up I didn’t find it overly violent or overly sexual – any hard-hitting film about prison life, drug runners and gang culture is that way inclined? In fact this film is a pussy cat compared to the recent British film ‘Starred Up.’
I know many really liked this film and rated it very highly, However, I found it a little on the slow side, overly long at two and a half hours, and I also found the last third of the film difficult to keep up with.
You don’t get a ‘wow’ factor watching this sort of film as its ‘low life’ characteristics are something we all want to keep at an outer space type distance.
As I say, interesting, but not a film I’d particularly recommend or watch again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent and violent french movies but extremelly witty and realistic .by the son of michel audiard jacques important french familly in the history of the cinema. Read morePublished 1 month ago by madlaurent
Amazing acting and story line, It is the best you can expect when it comes to authentic prison movies.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Love this film, amazing, must watch. Beats hands down all the usual America saves the day type movies with the orchestra music dictating the mood of the film every second. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Fitzpatrick
A must-see for all that love the mob genre. Don't be mislead, the movie is anything like the Godfather or Scarface. Read morePublished 6 months ago by CN
Excellently acted and great film. Rather violent, so don't watch if you are adverse to some mindless beatings.Published 8 months ago by fairlyquasi