Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 30
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 30
  3. Negative: 0 out of 30
Watch On
  1. Why do we care? Because never before have the steps to thugdom, as depressing as that destination may be, been so rigorously detailed, neither romanticized nor negated. Don’t miss.
  2. There's also no romanticizing on the part of the director, who proceeds with calm, unshowy attentiveness (even in the midst of scenes of violence), creating a stunning portrait of an innately smart survivor for whom prison turns out to be a twisted opportunity for self-definition.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Uncompromising in its style, story and characterizations.
  4. 100
    To borrow a marketing phrase from another, very different film, A Prophet really is the movie that reminds you why you love the movies. Especially movies like this one.
  5. One of those rare films in which the moral stakes are as insistent and thought through as the aesthetic choices.
  6. 100
    It's a highly original film made in a familiar context, and an exciting moviegoing experience you shouldn't miss.
  7. 100
    The best performance in the film is by Arestrup as Cesar. You may remember him from Audiard's "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" (2005), where he played a seedy but confident father who psychically overshadows his son.
  8. Reviewed by: James Adams
    One caveat: At the risk of sounding sexist, let me say A Prophet is an unreservedly male film. Female characters are few and far between, and when they do appear, they pretty much fall into either one of two categories – les mamans ou les putains.
  9. If Malik doesn't remind you of Al Pacino's Michael Corleone on his journey from innocence to corruption in "The Godfather" saga, well . . . he should. A Prophet is similarly, startlingly momentous.
  10. A Prophet is the kind of film that makes you remember why going to the movies can be a thrilling experience.
  11. 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.
  12. More than anything else, however, director Jacques Audiard's gritty, grab-you-by-the-shirtfront film is a mob movie -- a really, really good mob movie. Think "GoodFellas," but with Gauloises and accent aigu instead of plates of spaghetti and accent Pesci.
  13. 91
    A Prophet has been compared to American TV series like "Oz" for its episodic plot and large cast, but it’s more like a Gallic "Goodfellas": thoroughly absorbing, exciting, even poetic. It’s a full evening’s entertainment.
  14. 91
    Long and sometimes grueling, but it never feels indulgent or excessive. In order to be subtle about the horrifying transformation he records, Audiard needs to let it unfold slowly, so that only when we reach the end can we see Malik as a new man who has come unimaginably -- and terribly -- far.
  15. A Prophet pushes its protagonist into circumstances he did not choose but in which he watches and learns and kills and eventually becomes all he can be, albeit criminally. Certainly Muslims living in France have embraced the movie and Malik, played by Rahim
  16. 88
    It’s imperfect, but it’s daring, bold, and from a director who isn’t scared of anything.
  17. 88
    Most prison movies are about escape or survival. A Prophet (Un Prophete) is about the creation of a consciousness. This one, too, could have been called “An Education.”
  18. 88
    Audiard delivers on and exceeds the promise he evinced in that earlier film, drawing viewers into the densely layered, ruthless ecology of a French prison and, against all odds, making them not mind staying there awhile.
  19. 88
    Strip away the French and Arabic subtitles, the French-prison setting and the Muslim-messianic title, and A Prophet, opening Friday at The Enzian, would still be the grittiest prison thriller in years.
  20. Reviewed by: Andrew Male
    A modern French crime epic where the smudges and crossings out do not diminish the passages of great dreamlike power.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Brunette
    What's most immediately remarkable about the film is the raw intensity of its hyper-realistic encounters, hugely enhanced by the superb acting of newcomer Rahim.
  22. Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
    Whether audiences have the stomach for 150 minutes behind bars remains debatable, but there is no denying the persuasive power of a film that takes no prisoners and pulls no punches.
  23. Rahim and Arestrup are both so outstanding that if this were an English-language film, they'd probably be nominated for Oscars, too.
  24. 80
    Some have compared this French crime drama to "The Godfather," and though that may be a common critical touchstone, writer-director Jacques Audiard 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.
  25. If his two previous films suggested a director dipping a few toes in dark waters, Un Prophete marks the moment when Audiard took the plunge.
  26. 70
    Jacques Audiard’s film, which lasts two and a half hours, maintains an unflagging urgency, stalling only when the double-dealing grows too dense.
  27. Rahim is an exciting, unpredictable presence, and Arestrup’s César has a stature that’s nearly Shakespearean.
  28. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    Sold to the global arthouse market as the "French Scorsese," Audiard does know his genre. A Prophet, the director has said, is the "anti-Scarface."
  29. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    A compelling piece of naturalistic filmmaking, claustrophobic and thought-provoking.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 162 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Nov 23, 2010
    What is really great about this movie, is the simplicity of it. An Arabian man who is sentenced to six years in prison soon is confronted by aWhat is really great about this movie, is the simplicity of it. An Arabian man who is sentenced to six years in prison soon is confronted by a Corsican gang who gives him several tasks to do, soon becoming a ruthless gang member, and he can't even read or write.There is this sense of immense greatness toward Malik who is only 19 years old and seems like the only nice guy who won't shoot an inmate. And the Corsican gang seems to be his only refuge, even if he doesn't like it. The plot is simply told, not through verbal communication, but in several instances where the filmakers step you outside the movie and try to tell you, "This is Malik now." He soon becomes productive, and ruthless. He slowly rebuilds his life. A perfect crime drama that has things anybody could ask for in one. Full Review »
  2. Sep 7, 2010
    Fantastic gritty, realistic depiction of life inside a French prison from start to finish.

    I could really only identify a couple of small
    Fantastic gritty, realistic depiction of life inside a French prison from start to finish.

    I could really only identify a couple of small aspects were improvement was possible. The first of these was in the english subtitles (not really even a part of the film itself)- they are not always a great translation of the actual dialogue. The second is in the development of the central protagonists relationship and involvement with the Muslim within and outside the jail walls, this could have been given additional clarity.

    However, as a cinema this film works all almost every level, effectively dragging us into Malik's world grim and realistic world.

    Don't miss it.
    Full Review »
  3. May 7, 2015
    Well, the movie lacks plausibility. Probably, idk, 40 years ago things could have been like that: getting away with manslaughter like it'sWell, the movie lacks plausibility. Probably, idk, 40 years ago things could have been like that: getting away with manslaughter like it's nothing, gangs running the prison, ... but nowadays that is not possible anymore (at least not on those extent).
    This is mostly why "The Godfather" was a good movie and this is definitely not.

    Since the premises are, again, entirely unrealistic for the movie's time-setting, I wasn't able to enjoy the movie itself because it was just nonsense after nonsense, piling one another.

    Finally, the movie carries a bad message, won't spoil the ending, but well, that's a bad message on whichever angle you want to see it.
    Full Review »