A Prophet (Un prophete)

2010

A Prophet (Un prophete)

Critics Consensus

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

97%

TOMATOMETER

Reviews Counted: 154

89%
liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 24,933

TOMATOMETER

N/A
All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0

AUDIENCE SCORE

89%
Average Rating: 4.1/5

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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 devising his own plans.

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Critic Reviews for A Prophet (Un prophete)

All Critics (154) | Top Critics (41)

  • A Prophet is not a fabulous film, but it is well worth seeing. Although it is 2 hours 29 minutes long and its story is not surprising, it is always riveting.

    Jan 12, 2018 | Full Review…

    Ed Koch

    The Atlantic
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Apr 21, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • 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.

    Apr 2, 2010 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 1, 2010 | Rating: 4/4
  • 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.

    Mar 26, 2010 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Tom Long

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

    Mar 19, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4

Audience Reviews for A Prophet (Un prophete)

A gripping French gangster film that depicts the many brutal changes that a man can go through after entering prison, and the 19-year-old Arab-Corsican delinquent who slowly learns to become a murderer is played with an impressive intensity by Tahar Rahim.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

An illiterate half-Arab, half-Corsican serves a prison sentence and rises to become a mob leader. This film is mediocre Martin Scorsese -- wait, it's not directed by Scorsese? Shocking! Then I guess this film is mediocre imitation Scorsese. It dark, depressing, virile, and remarkably violent. I make the Scorsese joke because films like Goodfellas and Casino achieve an impossible ethical feat: they make being a mobster seem cool; they make us say, "Gee, if I were a mobster, I'd be that cool, dressing in sherbet-colored suits." And A Prophet wants us to make the same type of ethical leap: they want us to sympathize with a character who goes through a profound ethical transformation from doe-eyed innocent to cold-blooded killer. But unlike the charming Ace Rothstein, Malik doesn't inspire, intrigue, or charm. The film's portrayal of Muslim fundamentalism doesn't get a lot of traction and its aim isn't that clear to me. Overall, Scorsese has done better - wait, are you sure he didn't direct this?

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

A morally complex and riveting study of the power struggle within the confines of prison.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

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.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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