A Prophet (France/Italy, 2009)

MV5BMTUyMjQ1MTY5OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzY5NjExMw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_Directed by: Jacques Audiard. I had forgotten the fact that Audiard, who made what was for many years my single favourite movie—The Beat That My Heart Skipped-–was also behind this one. Really, I should have known, from the appearances of the excellent Niels Arestup and Gilles Cohen, who made lasting impressions on me from that other film. There are some definite stylistic and thematic similarities in the two, as long as I’m at it. Both films center around young men in a criminal lifestyle. Both of them are, to some extent, more innocent than their surroundings, more capable of goodness than their comrades, but both of them are ultimately corrupted or compromised to some extent by those external factors. This film was called the “French Godfather” and perhaps that says more about Western film critics’ fascination with their own movies than it does about the lasting influence of Coppola or Scorsese or anyone else. It certainly doesn’t say anything about A Prophet, other than the fact that it’s based around the Corsican mafia in prison, and a young Arab slowly climbing the ranks of power, and The Godfather was about a young Sicilian rising the ranks of power. Beyond that, I’d say the two movies are very distinct, because they come from very distinct cultural backgrounds, using very distinct filmic techniques. There are, to my eye, some distinctly Audiardian moments, namely, any period of continued silence, any candid glimpses the camera peeks at its ambiguous and withdrawn protagonist, instantly bringing me back to Roman Duris as the troubled Tom in The Beat That My Heart Skipped. But, either way, this is a damn good movie in its own right.

2 responses to “A Prophet (France/Italy, 2009)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2012 | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: The Take [Miniseries] (UK, 2009) | Offhand Reviews·

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