A Prophet (2009)

English-language adaptations of foreign films are rarely any good and one of my least favorite phenomenons. The magic of the original usually gets lost. On the other hand, foreign-language remakes of US films? Kind of fantastic, if you ignore the recent Zhang Yimou remake of Blood Simple. Granted I only know of one other than that, but it is excellent enough to prove the rule. Jacques Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped updates the forgotten Harvey Keitel film Fingers with genius results.

Audiard's follow-up to that bit of awesome is the fantastically tense A Prophet, which features the best performance since Jeremy Renner last appeared on screen. Tahir Rahim plays Malik, a young Arab man imprisoned in a French jail who matures into a full-fledged criminal after adopted by the Corsican mafia. It becomes something of a prison David and Goliath story, almost.


Malik survives prison. He grows up in prison. He learns to read, he learns to kill. Whether he's a success story is up to the viewer. What's not in question is the fact that Audiard has painted another masterful portrait of crime.

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