"Un prophète" tells the story of a somewhat naive but intelligent young inmate from Arabic origins who rises through the criminal ranks to become a big boss. Serve with an outstanding cast and an almost exclusively males and non-professional actors, the film of Jacque Audiard manages to prove that you don't need a so called bankable actor/actress in order to make a masterpiece. What you need is a vision, an excellent scenario and a perfect casting. Set mainly within prison walls, the film depicts the prison "career" of Malik el Djebena, a 19-year-old man of North African origin who was sentenced to six years in prison. At his arrival in prison, Malik (wonderfully played by Tahar Rahim) is forced by Cesar Luciani, a Corsican kingpin (played by the excellent Niels Arestrup) to kill a prisoner named Reyeb. What follows is a powerful film that grabs your attention from beginning to end. The film works on so many levels and yet achieves excellence in all of them. "Un prophète" works as a social description of the hellish atmosphere one could encounter in prison. The promiscuity, the dirtiness, the drug, the sex, the corruption are detailed through very well drawn out characters and situations. You live in prison and what you live isn't giving any concessions to reality. "Un prophète" is a thrilling gangster film deprave of any sort of Manichaeism. Between the buildings of a drug business, the contract to assassinate a mafia kingpin, the negotiation with a local mobster and the rise to power of a young bandit or "racaille", the film manages to link every single story and wrap them all in one big and dark vision of what the French society can also produce. Eventually the film triggers so many emotions; in 150 minutes the audience balances from bitterness to injustice and from violence to peace. Jacques Audiard and Stéphane Fontaine (director of photography) controlled with mastery both the "mise en scène" and the cinematography. Using here stop motion there torch like effect and opposing darkness to light they cut out possible definitions for the words loyalty or betrayal, friendship or servitude, destiny or curse. The director of the excellent "de battre mon coeur s'est arrêté " and the very good "sur mes lèvre" signs here a haunting movie a unique cinematographic and emotional experience, a masterpiece.
Crime / Drama
Crime / Drama
A young Arab man is sent to a French prison.
April 25, 2020