Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Prophet

A Prophet is a French film nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. It is the gritty story about a young man's stretch in prison. His name is Malik and he seems to come from and have nothing. We first see him on his first day in prison on a six month sentence for attacking a cop, a crime he says he didn't commit. But this isn't a redemption prison movie, but a film about Malik's rise to the top of the prison system. He has the good fortune of being Corsican and Arab, and speaking both languages. The Corsicans run the prison and soon have Malik on a mission to befriend and kill an Arab snitch. Soon after the deed, he's in their favor and his rise begins. The film is gritty like I said before, but it is also an arty film as well. The scenes of violence, though not prevalent throughout the film, are shot with grace and graphic detail.There are musical interludes where American pop music is played in the background. Words, names, and phrases pop up on screen. Deeper meaning probably loom under the surface. My low rating of this film doesn't indicate bad filmmaking. There is a lot here to appreciate. I'm just not sure the it all adds up, and the film is greatly marred by overlength, and maybe a lack of material to justify that running time.