In a week when film fans are mourning the passing of the French great Claude Chabrol (80 year old co-pioneer of the French New Wave) it’s pleasing to report that there’s still someone in France making watchable movies. In fact, Jacques Audiard’s last two films have been absolute crackers (Read My Lips, The Beat My Heart Skipped) and his latest is easily one of the best you will see this or any year.
In Un prophète (A Prophet), Audiard has managed to make an intimate epic, a film about grand themes while (for the most part) never leaving the confines of the French prison where our hero is incarcerated. He is Malik El Djabena (newcomer Tahar Rahim) and he’s a nineteen year old petty criminal inside for assaulting a cop. In exchange for the protection of the Corsican mob leader who runs the joint (Niels Arestrup) he murders an Arab informer, an incident that will literally haunt him throughout the film.