A Prophet (2009) – New Cinema Wallpaper of the Day – Jacques Audiard & Tahar Rahim


New Cinema Wallpaper of the Day
Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Prophet was the Grand Prix winner at Cannes (details) and also happens to be my favorite film to date of 2009. The timeless and engrossing type of rise to power crime films like Scarface (Hawks or De Palma) or Godfather seem few and far between. A Prophet in my mind is in that rare category of crime films of that ilk. Whereas I found it to be particularly more bleak and human. Which is one way it separates itself from the recent glut of faux gritty yet highly glossy prison melodramas and one dimensional crime thrillers. Personally I can’t stand contemporary prison melodramas of any type or variety. They all just seem very overly calculating and artificial. Like wise, I didn’t go walk into A Prophet very optimistically at Cannes. By the time it was over and the end credits were rolling I was so completely absorbed in it that I forgot I was watching a movie. It was that involving! Every twist and turn had me more and more on the edge of my seat along for its ride. The human touches the film possesses in some ways reminds me of the rich characterization in Shawshank Redemption which give it this multi-layer quality of not watching real life actors go through the paces on screen but presenting us a vivid world of real and breathing characters who tight rope through life each day in the harsh prison life and its surrounding criminal enterprise tentacles. One part I’m still very impressed with is even though it presents a very realistic world it also has numerous surreal moments that flow perfectly into the editing of the film without every taking you out. On paper this should be distracting and jarring… yet somehow they weave it in and it works perfectly. Engrossing, rich and intoxicating with fumes of great cinema and all the qualities you hope any film walking into it would possess and rarely get, let alone contemporary crime films.

Condemned to six years in prison, Malik El Djebena cannot read nor 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 who rules 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.

But Malik is brave and a fast learner, daring to secretly develop his own plans.

Related Coverage:
::: Previous Movie Wallpaper (Cinema is Dope)
::: Cinema is Dope: Best of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival

Photo By:
Roger Arpajou

Image Source:
Official stills used in the original international release.

Related Links:
::: IMDb Profile

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