A Prophet | Chicago Reader

A Prophet

Rated R 155 minutes 2009

Some have compared this French crime drama to The Godfather, and though that may be a common critical touchstone, writer-director Jacques Audiard (Read My Lips, The Beat That My Heart Skipped) manages to replicate its most elusive element—not the dark comedy or the operatic bloodletting but the incremental corruption of a decent man into a willful, coldhearted killer. Sentenced to six years in prison for a violent (but unspecified) crime, a young French Arab (Tahar Rahim) learns to navigate the brutal political landscape of the showers and the exercise yard, reluctantly submitting to the malign sponsorship of a crusty Corsican (Niels Arestrup) who commands one of the prison's gangs. The sprawling story eventually takes the protagonist back outside the prison walls, but by the end any notion of inside and outside has become irrelevant, replaced only by victims and victimizers. In French, Arabic, and Corsican with subtitles.

Film Credits

Director: Jacques Audiard

Producer: Martine Cassinelli

Cast: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Hichem Yacoubi, Reda Kateb, Antoine Basler, Gilles Cohen, Pascal Henault, Foued Nassah and Jean-Emmanuel Pagni

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