Review: A Prophet (Un prophète)

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The Pitch: A French Goodfellas, with less glamour and more ghosts.

The Review: The European answer to all those American crime and prison movies that Gomorrah tried so manfully to be, but didn’t quite manage. A mesmerising central performance by Tahar Rahim as he slowly takes control of his life and works out his place in the criminal hierarchy, then sets out to control it.

Coupled with this are elements of the fantastic which give a further fresh twist to the material, including one of his victims who can’t leave him alone and the strange prophecy alluded to by the title which comes in incredibly handy at a later stage.

The movie starts off largely confined by the prison walls, but gets to stretch its legs as the plot develops, using the divide between outside and inside for tension and to help drive events forward. While the most striking confrontations take place inside the walls, it’s the set-pieces outside that give the movie its energy and edge.

Tense and well paced, tautly plotted and different enough to stand on its own terms, this comes highly recommended for all fans of the genre.

Why see it at the cinema: To truly feel the claustrophobia of the prison cells, and the isolation of the prison yard, needs the biggest screen possible.

The Score: 9/10

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