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5,402 Ratings

A Prophet

Un prophète

Directed by Jacques Audiard
France, Italy, 2009
Crime, Action, Drama


This brutal crime drama that swept the César Awards stars Tahar Rahim in a breakthrough performance as a young illiterate Arab man who becomes a Mafioso heavyweight while serving time in a French prison.

Our take

Winner of the Grand Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, A Prophet is one of Jacques Audiard’s most riveting films. Brutally honest in its depiction of daily life in prison, which is rife with politics and institutional corruption, the film chills us with its stark realism and social urgency.

A Prophet Directed by Jacques Audiard

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2009 | Winner: Grand Prix

Academy Awards

2010 | Nominee: Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Seemingly effortless, [Rahim’s performance] is a prodigious high-wire act, and it should have resulted in as many awards for Rahim as the film itself has already received. The focus of every scene, he leads us through the thickets of the plot as if nothing matters except how he manipulates everyone else to ensure his own survival.
July 12, 2013
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Often we praise genre films for genre-defying moments, or for sneaking in scenes of well-observed humanity, but A PROPHET is composed of these scenes. Sometimes the film’s violence approaches cliché in style and quantity, but even the acts of violence have a narrative specificity and a clear cost. We feel it most strongly when we are alone with Malik and his conscience.
May 31, 2013
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What happens when you toss an unformed Corsican Arab teenager into a French prison population violently divided between Corsicans and Arabs? By filmmaker Jacques Audiard’s own estimation, what happens is the “anti-Scarface,” a gangster epic of brutal, tragic and emphatically unromantic self-actualization. It’s also a parable of modern France, and maybe the first to touch this particular bundle of nerves with this much force since Albert Camus.
March 25, 2010
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What are people saying?

  • Mr.Rager's rating of the film A Prophet

    Vive le cinéma français!!! Un prophète est un autre exemple formidable de la qualité des films français. Tout le respect pour le directeur Jacques Audiard. Le film est très intense, exactement comment un bon film de crime / drame devrait être. 9/10. A la fin, j'étais un peu confus. Il semble que la fin a été légèrement précipitée. Malgré plus de deux heures, j'en aurais aimé même trois.

  • Susana Bessa's rating of the film A Prophet

    In the words of New Yorker's film critic Anthony Lane: (...) "On a short furlough, Malik goes through airport security and, without thinking, opens wide and sticks out his tongue, as he would during a regular inspection. It’s a moment of greatness, like Chaplin walking away from an assembly line in “Modern Times", (...) and it suggests that you never really get out of jail. You just take your cage and leave. "

  • Sheree's rating of the film A Prophet

    I never expect to respond to contemporary realist European cinema. As beautiful as the films can be, they are often too cold and removed for me to touch them, and for them to touch me back. This film touches.

  • Harry Rossi's rating of the film A Prophet

    Holy crap, this was even better than the hype lead me to believe. What a miracle of a movie! The fact that a 2 1/2 hour prison film wasn't in the least bit dull for a second was impressive enough, but to have it also be exquisitely shot, acted and written is even more impressive! This entire film was a completely immersive and wonderful experience! Loved every second of it and would gladly watch it again!

  • Endless Eye's rating of the film A Prophet

    It wouldn't be truthful to suggest this film is above criticism, but after watching it I didn't have anything to say or any qualms at all. To put it simply: just watch it. It's a worthy addition (as well as a new spin) to the gangster genre.

  • mina's rating of the film A Prophet

    A masterfully told story about survival of the fittest. Malik enters prison a petty criminal who can't read or write and slowly rises through the criminal ranks on the inside and the outside with an innate, intense survival instinct. Claustrophobic, violent, smart and gritty, no matter what Malik does, he never looses his humanity, which keeps you on his side. A beautifully directed and acted film. A must-see.

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film A Prophet

    Audiard has never wowed me—too uneven a ratio of seriousness announced to depths actually plumbed. But while I wish this gangster epic/immigrant allegory got as much from its themes as 2.5 hours can, or that its mix of magic realism and gritty realism was halfway complete, it scores, thanks largely to Rahim, arriving as a blank slate but with the eyes, ears and brains to see how the future (of France) belongs to him.

  • Nicholas Gregory's rating of the film A Prophet

    Understated and realistic, A Prophet isn't just a blend of The Godfather and a prison film, but is more detailed in its evaluation of criminal power dynamics, and is more contemplative. Unlike Coppola's series, it has a lesser emphasis on the climax of action, and more patience for interaction. This is evident in its actors: Rahim's subtly sympathetic and humanistic acting is a counter to Arestrup's brooding menace.

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