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A Prophet [Blu-ray]

4.4 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Academy Award Nominated, A PROPHET (2009, Best Foreign Language Film) details the gritty prison career of a nineteen-year-old Malik (Tahar Rahim, 2009 European Film Award Winner for Best Actor). Arriving at the jail, he is cornered by the leader of the ruling Corsican gang (Niels Arestrup, 2010 Cesar Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor) and forced to carry out a number of dangerous missions including drug trafficking and brutal hits. Over time Malik is able to earn the gang leader's confidence and rise up the prison ranks, all while secretly devising his own plans.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup
  • Directors: Jacques Audiard
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, French, German
  • Dubbed: German
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 2010
  • Run Time: 156 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002BWP3UM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,713 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Prophet [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Gallegos on May 7, 2010
Format: Blu-ray
Malik El Djebena enters prison a blank slate of nineteen. Immediately you realize his youth, his vulnerability in a savage, organized world that only sees him as fresh bait. He becomes the means to a murderous end for fellow inmate the Corsican mob and thus begins his descent into its servitude. Ironically, it is his position as their dirty Arab that provides his escape.

Propelled by stellar, stoic acting on Tahar Rahim's behalf, this story gripped me from blinded beginning to free end. Throughout the film you empathize with Malik. He's as much if not more a victim of his environment as he is a Machiavellian strategist gripping all opportunities available to him. It's not always pleasant to watch his endeavors, but they have an authenticity, a type of logic, that is followed until the end.

An amazing film that has made a fan where previously only an aversion to its subject matter existed, Un Prophéte deserves all the praise it gets.
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Format: DVD
'A Prophet' settles it: Jacques Audiard is the best filmmaker working today. His previous two films (Read My Lips, The Beat That My Heart Skipped) were superb, but 'A Prophet' is his best creation so far. For me, it's the best film of 2009. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film but was beaten out by El Secreto De Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes). I'll reserve judgment until I see that one, too, but it's hard to believe it's a better movie than Audiard's.

As another reviewer aptly notes on these pages, 'A Prophet' has more than subtle shades of 'The Godfather.' French Arab Malik (an amazing Tahar Rahim) starts the movie as a callow 19-year-old entering prison. Quickly, he's selected to carry out a hit by the Corsican gang that rules the prison. The hit itself is excruciatingly intense movie-making. The pressure was suffocating. [At least one fellow movie-goer left the theater and didn't return.]

After carrying out that task, Malik is protected by César Luciani (an equally mesmerizing Niels Arestrup) leader of the Corsicans in prison. In fact, Luciani effectively runs the prison. Thus begins a life for Malik in which the Corsicans see him as an Arab and the Arabs as a Corsican. But Malik proves himself more than an errand boy. As Malik is told by the character Reyeb, "the idea is to come out smarter than you came in." Reyeb is talking about book-smart intelligence, and - while Malik does take and excel at literacy training - Reyeb's epigram holds deeper meaning as well.
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Format: Blu-ray
If there is one thing I have appreciated about Jacques Audiard's work, you know you're in for a cinematic treat. I enjoyed his 1999 film "Venus Beauty Institute" (Vénus beauté institut), his 2001 film "Read My Lips" (Sur mes lèvres) and repeated his success with his 2005 film "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" (De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté) and in 2009, Audiard returned with "Un prophète" (A Prophet) which is based on the original screenplay by Abdel Raouf Dafri and Nicolas Peufaillit and rewritten by Audiard and Thomas Bidegain.

The film would receive critical praise and would go on to receive an Academy Award nomination in 2009, a winner of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix , won "Best Picture of the Year" at the London Film Festival and would join two films in the history of the César Awards by being nominated for 13 awards and the third film in French cinema history to win 9 or more César awards (the last two films was the 1980 film "The Last Metro" and the 1990 film "Cyrano de Bergerac").

VIDEO:

"A Prophet" is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). I've commented with nearly every Sony Blu-ray release of how these last two years have been fantastic in terms of overall presentation and quality. The picture quality for "A Prophet" is absolutely wonderful. You can see the detail of the grime around the prison, the weaves of fabric on the clothing, the scratches, cuts, wrinkles and skin pigmentation in HD and a color pallet that is full of detail and depending on the scene, great use of colors to showcase the cold prison life to the vibrant outdoor (and out of prison) scenes.

There is a fine layer of grain throughout the film and blacks are nice and deep.
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This is a difficult film, but worth your time. A young man, half Corsican/half Arab, raised in an orphanage, is sentenced to six years in a prison in the north of France (at least somewhere it snows). The prison is run by an older Corsican man (the actor is amazing) who wields considerable power both in an out of the prison. He takes our protagonist under his wing as his protegé, not out of compassion, but because he sees him as a blank canvas who he can turn into a janitor, an errand boy – and a murderer. A powerful indictment of a prison system that puts naive young men in with older professional criminals. Guess what they become to survive? Professional criminals.

There are some wonderful moments, the protagonist turns down a free prostitute for a chance to enjoy a beach for a few minutes in his bare feet, the audience realizing that he has probably never been on a beach in his life. And some unintentional hilarity, where we see that even in a brutal French prison they still get their baguettes delivered.

The social themes and messages are subtle. Obviously the difficulty of integrating the Arab/Muslim culture in the French/Catholic host culture is one of the themes.

At 2 1/2 hours it took me several gut-wrenching nights to watch, but totally worth it. Acting throughout is wonderful and the ending is well-earned and leaves a thread of redemption and hope. Please give Un Prophete a chance.
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