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

Total Count: 154

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 24,931
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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 (44)

  • 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)

  • Jul 22, 2014
    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 H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 05, 2013
    gripping with more a sense of realism to it than the majority of prison dramas. no crime sprees and no insatiable urge from the protagonist for power, but more an insurmountable penchant for survival and the rest falling into place
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Jul 30, 2013
    This French prison drama directed by Jacques Audiard from a screenplay he co-wrote with Thomas Bidegain, Abdel Raouf Dafri and Nicolas Peufaillit, is something you cannot miss! If you do, you will be missing on some of the best in the world cinematography on this subject. It stars Tahar Rahim in the title role as an imprisoned petty criminal of Algerian origins who rises in the inmate hierarchy, as he initiates himself into the Corsican and then Muslim subcultures. It is a work of fiction, and for the director the film aimed "creating icons, images for people who don't have images in movies, like the Arabs in France." The character of Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim), nineteen years old, French of Algerian descent was so realistically portrayed that it is really hard to understand it as a fictional character, as well as the character of the Corsican mobster Cesar Luciani (Niels Arestrup). The director wanted to ensure the authenticity of the prison experience, and hired former convicts as advisors and extras... The screenplay was done exceptionally seamless and I wasn't even aware when the transitions unfolded most of the times. The main character had nothing when started and the indifference toward him slowly built up a change that he became someone we cared and wanted to succeed. Of course such screenplay and outstanding director could not be unnoticed: A Prophet won the Grand Prix at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, at the 53rd London Film Festival, it won the Best Film Award. After that won the Prix Louis Delluc 2009, nd at the 63rd British Academy Film Awards, it won a BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language. It was nominated for 13 César Awards, tying it with three other films for the most nominations of any film in César history. It won 9 Cesars at the ceremony, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. The film was nominated for the Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics. The film also won Best Foreign Film at the 13th annual British Independent Film Awards, which were held in London at the Old Billingsgate on December 5, 2010... still thinking of missing this? Don't!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Jul 17, 2013
    A morally complex and riveting study of the power struggle within the confines of prison.
    Pierluigi P Super Reviewer

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