Monday, April 26, 2010

Moving On Up

So this weekend, I avoided anything with "losers," "plan," or "dragon" in the title.  But I did decide to take in a French prison drama at the Tara.  Yes, you read that right.  A Prophet is one of the best films I've seen in a while and, oui, it's a French prison drama.  Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film this year, A Prophet tells the story of Malik, an illiterate 19-year-old Arab man who has just been sentenced to six years in a prison run by the Corsican mafia. Without having any friends or family inside or out of prison to protect Malik , it is not long before the mafia boss, Luciani, is able to  force Malik to do his bidding by killing another Arab man.  Although forever haunted by the Arab man he has killed, Malik uses his natural intelligence and ability to negotiate between the Corsican mob and Muslim prisoners to a point he is able to wrest power from Luciani.  While there is some violence in the film, it is relatively mild.  Intrigue and tension is instead built by the film's  focus on Malik's ever-growing ability to finesse situations to his advantage which makes the film evermore satisfying to the watcher.  Clocking in at two and a half hours, the passage of time was almost unnoticeable as the action and pacing was just like butter.  Magnifique!

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