Skip to main content

Review: Un Prophète


Prison is viewed as the last resort for the dregs of society. Criminals will either spend their time recounting and repenting their misdeeds that brought them there, or something more sinister occurs. Occupants with negligible offenses seek safety in the arms of prison elders. Young men are trained by the old about the inner, delicate linings of a criminal enterprise. Now, they are smarter, more sophisticated offenders. What is left is the evolution of a criminal.

Malik (Tahar Rahim) is a low-level head-buster. Despite only being nineteen, Malik is going to serve the next six years of his life in prison. If he wants to cling to survival, he needs to find a group to attach himself to.

Luciani (Neils Arestrup) is connected and he also serves as the unofficial head of the prison that Malik inhabits. When Luciani makes a proposal to Malik, suddenly he has to make a choice that never faced him before: kill the new witness for the state, or become just another figurehead in the national fatality statistics.

The film is masterful in its presentation of its confines. When the camera is allowed to roam a setting that is not a jail cell we the viewers are physically relieved as well as Malik. The freedom offered by the shots out of prison are immediately confronted with the harsh realities of what Malik knows too well.

Whether it be a close-up of Malik holding a razor between his teeth, or Luciani staring out of a jail-cell window he knows he will never leave each shot is composed magnificently. These are several select shots throughout the film that are quite good and hopefully as time moves on more filmmakers will be tempted to be this creative as well.

In the long run though the film is kept from Godfather status because of its tendency to delve into the realm of the fantastical. When a film's prime motive is to ground itself in the harsh light of realism this contradiction lends itself to criticism.

While 'Prophete' delivers several in-depth looks at each of its main players, the film works on a much larger scale. The prison system does not always rehabilitate its inhabitants, it creates monsters. We do not know what kind of person Malik was like before he entered the prison walls, but he comes out with more blood on his hands than when he first started.

***/****

Popular posts from this blog

Herman Melville and Office Space

Just from gleaning the surface of Office Space one would assume that there isn't anything simmering below the surface except for a raunchy work-comedy, but they would be wrong.
After the harsh critical reception of his greatest work Moby Dick Melville wrote a collection of short stories called Bartleby and Benito Cereno perhaps the greatest slam at the time against industrial America. Bartleby is the story of a Wall Street copyist who has his three employees proof-read and copy law forms. Shortly into the story Bartleby starts responding to work commands with, "I would prefer not to." Frustrated by his employee's subordination the Narrator tries to have him fired but Bartleby refuses to leave the office. The Narrator comes back the following morning to find Bartleby living inside his office. Bartleby becomes increasingly less apt to perform basic functions as eating after he is jailed for trespassing and dies in a jail cell. What at once starts out as a comedy has …

Paprika vs. Inception

Months before Inception hit the theaters forums were alive with rumors that Christopher Nolan either accidentally or intentionally stole some details from another film, the Japanese anime Paprika. The biggest point of comparison for some bloggers and forum runners was the fact that both of the films featured a device that allowed a person, or people, to travel into another’s dreams and delve into their subconscious.
Minor points of comparison include scenes in Paprika where the character Paprika breaks through a mirrored wall by holding her hand to it, as well as a scene where a police detective falls his way down a hallway. Claims have been made that Inception abounds with imagery similar to or exactly like the anime movie, but with the recent release of the film on DVD and Blu-Ray, and with Paprika available for several years now, an examination of the two plots can be made more fully.
Let us begin with the primary claim—Inception stole the idea of a dream machine from Paprika. It …

The Snowman Giveaway

The Snowman, a terrifying thriller based on the novel by Jo Nesbø, is being released on Oct 19th. To celebrate the release of the new thriller starring Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson, Never Mind Pop Film is hosting a Snowman Killer Blog App and a giveaway for readers.


The Snowman pack has:
1 - Limited Edition Snowman Plush Doll: This limited edition Snowman plush is only available via this promotion and has a run of 200 pieces worldwide. It is a replica of the killer’s Snowman and features a detachable head and the Snowman logo on the bottom.
1 - The Snowman Official Promo Shirt - An official promo T-Shirt featuring The Snowman logo on the front and the signature design on the back.
1 - Replica Snowman Killer Letter - A replica of the Snowman killer’s note, sealed.

All you have to do to win is follow @thesnowmanmovieand tweet @wordsbycbiggs with the hashtag #thesnowmanpack. You must submit your tweet by October 25th to participate. Giveaway open to the U.S. and Canada.