Posts Tagged ‘Scarface’

Director: Jacques Audiard

Actors: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Reda Kateb

Un prophète

After seeing ‘Rust and Bones’ a few weeks ago, I decided to dig a little deeper in the works of its director Jacques Audiard. It seems that the man is anything but a one hit wonder. The story of ‘Un prophète’ could be compared to that of ‘Scarface’, as it also revolves around the the life of a nobody-thug who works his way up on the crime ladder to become a mafia kingpin. I would even go so far to call it a better version of the eighties-cult-classic. I know that might be a bold statement to many film fans, but this film has a more raw and real feel to it. Maybe the fact that Scarface seems a bit outdated when watching it now has something to do with it.

Malik is a nineteen-year-old smalltime French-Algerian criminal who gets sentenced to six years after beating up a cop. On arrival in prison, somewhere near Paris, he knows no one there, has no money and no protection. He gets singled out by the Corsican prison-crew to kill a snitch who is temporary transferred to the same prison. He gets the job done (in what is in my opinion an epic killing scene) and gradually finds his place in their gang, winning the trust of their leader César Luciani. Half way through his sentence, Malik occasionally gets a day off to leave jail, perfect for Luciani to use him as his errand-boy to take care of his business on the outside. But Malik also has his own little business on the side, trafficking drugs from Paris to Marbella.

Things start looking up for Malik, his role within the Corsican crew becomes more substantial and his trafficking-scam is flourishing. That is until he runs into a conflict of interest between his two ‘jobs’. He has to outsmart all parties within the prison walls: the Corsicans who ‘adopted’ him and the Arabs to whom he still is connected through his roots, as well as people on the outside. That’s why this is such a great movie: not only is the plot very clever, the portrayal of Malik, from a scared, helpless kid to a smart and confident mobster who rules them all, is magnificent and very up close and personal. You feel for him at first and you too will want him to succeed on his quest when you’re watching.

‘A Prophet’ won the BAFTA award for best non-English film in 2010 as well as the ‘Grand Prize of the Jury’ at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.