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Universal acclaim- based on 152 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 152

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  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 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. Expand
  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 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.
  3. Aug 11, 2010
    This movie is amazingly overrated. People are comparing it to godfather and goodfellas. Well, in sport of those great gangster films, "a prophet" didn't give me that tingle that those other films did. It wasn't anything special and i could've gone without it. i watched it on blu ray and it was really long. i usually love long films but they have to keep me interested. i couldn't keep focus with this film. i'm guessing i need to watch it more than once to understand it. it was good but not amazing like so many are saying. Expand
  4. Mar 17, 2011
    Young French/Arab sent to prison for six years, Corsicans force him to do "job" for protection, gets more confident, more jobs, drugs, money, deceit.
    Excellent French prison drama which, although very brutal in places, has you reeled in from the start & doesn't seem as long as its 155 minute running time.
    Really good mix of a cast too portraying the different groups within the prison &
    Tahar Rahim excels in the lead as Malik. Expand
  5. Sep 2, 2010
    "A Prophet" is a completely engrossing experience that plays out like a genre film, colliding gangster politics and prison society for a satisfying thriller. However, what really gives the film its drive is the grit and social realism (two aspects rarely afforded by genre) packed into every scene, giving a completely unique crime drama. Unfortunately, the fact that it is French allowed it to fly completely under the American radar - though I doubt it will ever be as iconic or influential, I hope time will allow the movie to takes its rightful place along the ranks of "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas". Expand
  6. Oct 1, 2010
    Simply a fantastic movie! Its gritty, intense, and yet somehow its not at all over the top. The fact that its almost entirely in subtitles did not hinder me in the least from enjoying this magnificent picture. Everyone's acting is top notch. The plot is woven to perfection, and the movie has this realistic feel almost like your standing next to everything that's happening. The movie certainly addresses racial, cultural, and religious tension as our main protagonist hops back and forth between the world of the Corsicans and that of the Muslims (He himself is of mixed decent and in a lot of ways is not fully accepted by either side). The movie is long and when you think about its rather slow, but while watching it, it really doesn't feel that way. I don't want to spoil to much for you, but for any fan of the crime genre or just quality movies in general this film is an absolute must see! Expand
  7. Sep 28, 2010
    Outstanding. A Prophet captivated me from beginning to end. It juxtaposes moments of surreal majesty, with gritty realism to spectacular effect.
  8. Oct 12, 2010
    A stunning film with a ton of technical flair and great, memorable performances. A modern mob classic. Easily one of the best foreign films of last decade.
  9. Feb 12, 2011
    A Prophet is about a young Arab man sent to a French prison where he became a drug kingpin. Malik is Arabian (Muslim), most of his inmates are Corsicans so there was a big separation. Malik is known for siding with the enemies. He works for the Corsicans but at the same time bond with the Muslims. Malik is illiterate and has no support outside of prison so his life in jail is all he has.
    It seems as though Malik has a struggle of character once every five minutes of the film. If he's now doubting his decisions, he's getting his ass kicked by a Corsican. Director Jacques Audiard has done a fine job of creating this complicated yet fragile character that even if you can't understand him, you side with him. The film also demonstrates how a prison might make you do things that you'd never imagined. Filled with violence and gory details, finely crafted, and beautifully cinematographed, A Prophet is one of the best that the French film industry has to offer. (not to mention impressive performances out of the cast)
  10. Jan 5, 2011
    Here is a fantastic movie. I would say itâ
  11. Apr 9, 2011
    This is up there with "Midnight Express" and "The Shawshank Redemption" as one of the best prison films ever made. A graphic portrayal of the rise of a small-time criminal into a big-time Mafia boss all while serving a six year sentence in prison. "A Prophet" has already established itself as crime drama classic and it's only a few years old now. Director Jacques Audiard is something of a master of the genre in France, a French Scorsese one might say. In fact, this film shares a lot of similarities with the best crime drama of all time, "Goodfellas". Besides the similar narrative, the two films share one big thing in common: Both films tackle so much and fit a lot into their 150 minute plus runtimes, yet it doesn't feel rushed or sloppy. Executed with ease, this film bowls over a lot of plot points in such little time, but in the end you want to see more. It's a saga that really satisfies and what kept me interested was the charismatic performance of newcomer Tahar Rahim as the film's main character, Malik El Djebena. If you like "Goodfellas" or, even if you don't, "A Prophet" is a must see. One of the most popular films of 2009, it won the Grand Prix at Cannes and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Jacques Audiard's "A Prophet" is a timeless crime epic that is virtually flawless and remains refreshingly original, which is hard to in such a predictable genre. Expand
  12. Apr 13, 2011
    An interesting film which could have been grim but is leavened by unexpected light touches and a powerful central performance by Tahar Rahim as a young, newly incarcerated inmate of the French prison system who has to work out as quickly as possible how to survive in the internecine world of the prison with its hierarchies, loyalties and treachery. The film feels authentic and is neither didactic nor judgmental as it revolves around two or three powerful characters but draws in many more - this is a compelling, multi-layered picture of prison life but also of what awaits in the outside world, speaking of bleak reality while leaving room for individuals' dreams, however misguided. Expand
  13. Jun 30, 2011
    This film is excellent and possibly one of the most powerful crime dramas i've ever seen. Without giving away details of the plot, i will say that the acting goes a long way in lending the movie its impact, especially from Niels Arestrup as the aging corsican mob boss who evokes pathos and hostility in equal measure. The direction by Jacques Audiard is sure-handed, and the film works both as a thriller and an intimate human drama. Not to be missed by anyone with a love for movies Expand
  14. j30
    Jan 26, 2012
    The gritty, French crime drama A Prophet is irresistible. It almost feels like a Martin Scorsese picture with all the underlying themes (particularly racism and social class).
  15. May 21, 2012
    Un film choc qui peut aussi bien se voir comme un documentaire viscéral sur la vie dans les prisons françaises (en tout cas, les moins fréquentables) qu'un bon polar, avec en fond une histoire mafieuse se déroulant au sein même de l'établissement. On aurait bien pu se désintéresser du sujet assez rapidement, avec sa durée de 2h24, mais il n'en est rien, le film nous captivant de bout en bout. Et cela grâce à une impeccable mise en scène (donnant une atmsophère prenante à l'ensemble, une puissance à la plupart des scènes...), à un casting de qualité (avec en tête Tahar Rahim et Niels Arestrup), et à une bande son hypnotisante (qui amplifie le côté accrocheur du film). Bref, il n'y a rien à dire d'autres sur Un Prophète, chef-d'oeuvre du cinéma français que l'on doit à un réalisateur de génie : Jacques Audiard! Expand
  16. Nov 8, 2012
    A new crime classic; A Prophet is a masterful work and an excellent example of fantastic acting, writing, and directing.
  17. Jul 8, 2013
    Indeed, crime pays in "A Prophet,” the most widely valued French underworld thriller in decades, recognized as one of the best-developed crime dramas, and one of the most compelling crime figures in recent cinema history. “A Prophet” is the kind of film that makes you remember why going to the movies can be a thrilling experience.

    The film tells the story of how a 19-year-old Arab youth
    with no family or relatives who enters a French prison as a scared, illiterate young man and emerges six years later as the area’s indisputable mob kingpin. It’s a hard-won journey and a metamorphosis of dubious merit that creates a tone that is both inspirational and terrifying. "A Prophet" follows the life of Malik (Tahar Rahim), a young Frenchman of Arab descent, who enters prison as an outsider and is shaped into an adult criminal from the inside. He is a blank slate who has been disposed of by proper society, yet able to rise within the prison hierarchy due to his innate intelligence and sheer will to survive. The prison is under the control of, in essence, by a Corsican gang of inmates headed by César Luciani (Niels Arestrup), whose word is law. César sees everything but expresses little.

    Shortly after his arrival, Malik is ordered by César to murder of another prisoner, an action that grants him protection. The murder sequence is absolutely gripping from his preparation for the act, to how Malik finally pulls it off. His reaction to this brutal initiation is stunningly depicted as it forever haunts Malik. In the years the to come, Malik transforms before our very eyes. Malik's rise to power is chronicled in a logical and believable manner. His ascension through the ranks comes primarily from careful observation and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. He also manipulates; when he learns that César thinks all Arabs are stupid, he uses the revelation to his advantage.

    Director Jacques Audiard effortlessly constructs a foreboding landscape with complicated rules, and developing characters that are compelling and empathetic, even as they commit heinous acts. Rahim perfectly telegraphs his maturation from petty thief to major player in a brilliant performance that relies much less on words, than the confidence he exudes in his actions. He doesn't need to tell us that he is taking charge of the prison, or surpassing Cesar, we just watch it happen. The film's brutal, realistic violence is not for the faint for heart, but fans of raw, gripping cinema shouldn't be put off; "A Prophet" demands to be seen.

    “A Prophet” was a 2010 Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, and winner of the 2010 London Film Critics Award for Best Picture of the Year. The film won a total of nine César Awards in 2010 (the French equivalent of the Oscar), including best actor (Rahim), best director, and best picture.
  18. Jul 5, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I found the pace of the film extremely slow and hence annoying; some of the typical-for-a-french-film "surrealistic" scenes had me wondering what was going on. All this aside, I ended up really enjoying the film.
    Niels Arestrup puts in an amazing performance as Ceasar. He is (initially) the undisputed king of the joint, and he knows it. But as time goes by, we see that he and his status are fragile. He desperately attempts to keep hold of his power while at the same time trying not to show any cracks in his armour. However, it's Tahar Rahim that steals the show. As a young, ignorant Malik he enters prison not knowing what to expect. He is forced to kill and serve Ceasar, the later treating like his lapdog. Malik, however, is patient and observant, and uses this to his advantage. While Ceasar constantly reminds Malik that he is dependent on him, Malik eventually realises that it's the other way around. His transformation throughout the film is gradual and extremely convincing. Both actors go through a range of emotions with subtlety yet great performing power. I also enjoyed the claustrophobic directorial route, which suited this prison drama so well. I do not know whether or not this film was suppose to be a reflection today's society, or bringing any of the other "heavy" messages I see floating around the web regarding the film. What I got from it was that an individual can become someone he never expected when forced into extremely difficult situations.

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
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew Male
    A modern French crime epic where the smudges and crossings out do not diminish the passages of great dreamlike power.
  2. 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.
  3. Rahim is an exciting, unpredictable presence, and Arestrup’s César has a stature that’s nearly Shakespearean.