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on 26 May 2018
A worthy winner of several awards and nominated for many more, Jacques Audiard's vision of the corrupt and brutal life inside prison is brilliantly portrayed and the characters effectively brought to life, notably by Tahar Rahim as Malik, and Niels Arestrup as Cesar Luciani, and up there with Coppola and Scorsese. Nineteen-year-old Malik arrives in prison to serve a six year sentence for an attack on a police officer and is soon spotted by crime boss Cesar as one to exploit to his own ends. Malik is like a blank canvas, with no family, no education, just experience of extreme deprivation and delinquency, but far from becoming a mere puppet of the kingpin, he is motivated to improve himself, not only learning to read and write, but also acquiring Cesar and his Corsican gang's language. Malik is a very, very smart young man - as much a surprise to him as to others - and clearly seeks to emulate and succeed his master. His first task for Cesar, under threat of death, is to kill another inmate, Reyeb (Hichem Yacoubi) by first using his Arabic background and language to get close to him. After the violent murder, Reyeb's ghost hangs around Malik like a manifestation of his guilt, but seems to become like a spiritual companion or guide, associated with surreal portentous sequences one of which earns Malik the name of prophet. My favourite moments in the movie, accompanied by a suitably otherworldly score by Alexandre Desplat, are when Malik is outside, looking out over clouds on his first ever flight, and paddling, probably for the first time too, in the sea by Marseille. He is like a child and you can't help wondering what his life would have become had it started differently. Much the same might be said for Cesar and the others, though - prison life gives them purpose, rules, leaders, brutal as it is, so much so that despite the corrupt power and strength, no one tries to escape.
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on 5 August 2013
It's four stars only because Iv'e been a bit over fussy with it.There were times I thought the plot could have "hurried up" a bit.On reflection though the film needed time to develop and if I was to watch it again,I would revise the rating to a 5.It's a very well made movie,the main characters are strong personalities and very believable.I wouldn't say all the violence is necessary in it.Yet it's pertinent to the evolving story.Another reviewer said it came over as documentary style.I don't subscribe to that,rather it's seen through the eyes of the main character.This is where you feel that empathy with him.You fully understand what he does and why there is the need to do it.In other words you live those moments with him.Particularly his first year in prison,you can experience the desperation and hopelessness he feels.And at the end he only views his present circumstances in a businesslike manner.He had survived and conquered his demons.
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on 10 April 2017
A very good film. Don't be put off by the subtitles it all flows soon enough and you forget they are there.
Strong film good inner stories. Lots going on. It's not a Godfather but it is its own thing and unfair to compare.
I give it 4 stars and a high recommendation that's​ for sure.
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on 28 May 2017
It is one that you must watch at some time in your life. Like life it leaves you wondering "What's it all about?" in the well demonstrated sense.
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on 18 June 2018
Unusual Story. Very Watchable.
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on 18 January 2018
Watchable is all one can say.
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on 24 June 2017
A phenomenal movie with brilliant performances from all the cast.Superbly directed.
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on 23 October 2016
Great Movie ****
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on 27 March 2014
Good prison film, for sure one that's going to be watched again. There's so many good foreign films out there it's a shame you have to buy them to know if they are good or not. Good picture quality too.
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on 22 August 2016
REALLY GOOD PRISON MOVIE
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