I thought A Prophet was a really solid example of its genre, a good film worth seeing, but not the masterpiece attributed 5 stars by the broadsheets. It’s excellently filmed, a couple of scenes in particular stand out for their brutality, and I really enjoyed a couple of ‘neat’ flourishes that added to your understanding of the characters (I won't spoil them though). Speaking of which, there’s a couple of great performances at the heart of the film; Malik’s ascension from juvenile delinquent to hardened crim, and the jail’s Corsican kingpin Cesar’s story-arc are both excellently portrayed.
Ultimately though the film felt a bit over-long at 2.5 hours, and Malik’s rise through the prison ranks reminded me of the early stages of a Grand Theft Auto game – running missions for various unsavoury types, earning your own money and power etc. These scenes could have been cut down a bit and amalgamated more to give the film a slightly punchier pace. The more surreal flourishes felt really peripheral to the rest of the film and should have either been left out entirely or expanded to have more of an impact.
Can I please nominate Sir Tony ‘Opkins for the role of Cesar in the probably inevitable US remake? Cheers.