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A Prophet (Un prophete) (2009)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 146
Fresh: 142 | Rotten: 4

Featuring an impressive star turn by newcomer Tahar Rahim, A Prophet is a French gangster film filled with arresting, immediate details.

97

Average Rating: 8.4/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 1

Featuring an impressive star turn by newcomer Tahar Rahim, A Prophet is a French gangster film filled with arresting, immediate details.

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 23,576

My Rating

Movie Info

Condemned to six years in prison, Malik El Djebena, part Arab, part Corsican, cannot read or write. Arriving at the jail entirely alone, he appears younger and more fragile than the other convicts. He is 19 years old. Cornered by the leader of the Corsican gang currently ruling the prison, he is given a number of "missions" to carry out, toughening him up and gaining the gang leader's confidence in the process. Malik is a fast learner and rises up the prison ranks, all the while secretly

Aug 3, 2010

$1.5M

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All Critics (146) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (142) | Rotten (4) | DVD (4)

A movie that stands with the best prison thrillers from any country; a film that vividly illustrates the connection between prison and the violent, radical form of Islam that keeps much of Europe on edge.

April 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Comments (6)
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Audiard has talked about the prospects of a sequel to A Prophet. With the foundation he has built here, it would be a welcome one.

April 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A Prophet is essential viewing for art-film buffs and crime-flick fans, but also for anyone who's looking for a great story, terrific acting and masterful filmmaking.

April 1, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The success of Malik is sheer American dream via France: Anyone can make it if they try hard enough. Make it at what, of course, is always the question.

March 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Audiard never overplays the new experiences facing Malik, be they violent or touching. Yet his tender regard for our complicated hero shines through.

March 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film never succumbs to the pitfalls of the prison-movie genre, and there's something poetic about how Audiard, in the midst of all this violence, manages to make a punch to the stomach seem like the most violent act of all.

March 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

But with its lush Alexandre Desplat score, deeply shadowed compositions, and fluid, understated camera movement, A Prophet is distinctly an Audiard construction.

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

This is a brutal prison crime drama that shows the transformation of a small-time criminal into a big-time crime boss.

December 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A movie that has more in common with Jean Genet than Frantz Fanon, but there's enough insights into white colonial domination of Arab peoples to make this a cut above the standard prison melodrama. Highly recommended.

October 6, 2010 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Like Goodfellas without the visual fizz, or Scarface played straight, this is, quite simply, one of the greatest prison films ever made.

September 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Flicks.co.nz
Flicks.co.nz

An epic-styled comment on the practical side of getting through modern life, with spirituality and loyalty playing side parts to gaining raw skill.

August 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

... a riveting portrait of a prison education.

August 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

...a journey of hard-fought survival told with an unforgettable verve and originality.

August 9, 2010 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

the rarest of crime films: One that turns us inside out with concern not only for Malik's physical safety, but for the safety of his soul

August 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

While A Prophet might lack the ambiguity and the moral complexity to make it a classic of its genre, it is an excellent work by most standards.

July 8, 2010 Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com
MovieMartyr.com

A taut prison drama by crime-flick specialist Jacques Audiard.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY
eye WEEKLY

That rare film that tries to do too much, yet carries the heavy load of its themes with ease. Audiard dreams big, and his movie is unquestionably a classic crime film, because it transcends all of the conventions of the genre.

July 4, 2010 Full Review Source: DCist

Revela-se trágico justamente por refletir uma triste realidade: a de que, antes de funcionar como centro de reabilitação, o sistema penitenciário atua principalmente como uma excepcionalmente perigosa faculdade do crime.

June 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

Un intenso, brutal y formidable relato sobre el ascenso criminal dentro de la cárcel como forma de supervivencia. Excepcional labor protagónica del casi debutante Tahar Rahim. No suele abundar cine como éste; el crimen sería perdérselo.

May 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Un prophète s'élève au même niveau que ces grands films auxquels il sera inévitablement comparé tout en parvenant à s'en dissocier pour imposer ses propres méthodes.

April 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Panorama

Unsentimental and amoral, Jacques Audiard's A Prophet is a French gangster/prison thriller that nearly lives up to the flattery...

April 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

For the most part, this tough-minded tale maintains its distinctive edge.

April 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Think GoodFellas, but with Gauloises and accent aigu instead of plates of spaghetti and accent Pesci.

April 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

A Prophet begins as a gritty prison film and becomes an arresting gangster saga. It is a film with character, vitality, and humanity. In A Prophet we are incarcerated in a powerful work of art.

April 16, 2010 Full Review Source: tonymacklin.net
tonymacklin.net

Undoubtedly one of the finest films of the last year.

April 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

Audience Reviews for A Prophet (Un prophete)

A Prophet is a very clever film within the 'Prison' genre. Our protagonist is caught in the middle of two sides when sentenced to six years imprisonment but this is not a film about suffering and neither is it particularly about success in the face of adversity. All cliches are out the window. Instead we see harsh realities, the good and the bad, and how being the middleman has it's pros and its cons. The levels of organisation and criminality in the prison system are explored well, the vicious circle that criminals find themselves upon release has been covered in other films but not as effectively as they have here in my opinion. The story is held in place by the great direction and impressive performances. Every decade has a film that raises the bar in a certain genre and this is one of them.
March 6, 2014
SirPant

Super Reviewer

A morally complex and riveting study of the power struggle within the confines of prison.
July 17, 2013
pier007

Super Reviewer

DIrector Jacques Audiard constructs a rather thoughtful look at power and curruption and how addictive the two can be. Rahim plays a young man sent to prison who is soon dragged into a world of violence and crime as he is forced to commit crimes in order to be protected. It's a brutal double edged sword (or razorblade) as each action may make him protected, but it also creates new enemies. A Prophet charts his rise, fall, rise, and domination of the crime world from inside a tiny cell. The violence is fast and brutal, but we can see the gradual decline in Rahim's morals, making it a relatable account. A sense of mediation is added to a fairly worn genre, as Rahim is haunted by visions from his past pointing him towards his future. Is it madness? Or is Rahim a genuine prophet? The film leaves us with questions, but questions about ourselves and our own beliefs. It's so great to see a crime film that can seduce its audience, but doesn't glorify crime.
February 24, 2013
kiriyamakazou

Super Reviewer

A young French-Arab offender rises through the ranks of the prison hierarchy to become a drug runner and enforcer for Corsican mobsters by playing both sides of the racial divide. This highly effective and intelligent prison drama by auteur Jacques Audiard is an extremely gritty examination of a young man who has no control of his own life and haunted by the murder he was forced to commit to prove his loyalty to the criminals he is unwillingly allied to. The performances are all top notch but it is Tahar Rahim's superb central performance that draws you into this grim and seedy world that shows crime as far from a glamorous activity, rather a ruthless dog eat dog crucible of ugly, vicious men perpetrating ugly, vicious acts. The DVD cover is plastered with quotes from lazy reviewers comparing it to Scarface and The Godfather, but A Prophet has little in common with those films; its tone and style for me was rather more reminiscent of Nicolas Winding Refn's Pusher trilogy. It's simply a smart, well directed and brilliantly performed prison bound drama that will probably be a little too dark for some tastes but is one of the best examples of its kind for many years.
September 4, 2012
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Ein Prophet (DE)
  • Un prophète (FR)
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