Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Prophet

Another day, another prison film.

A Prophet follows the young Malik though six years in jail as he goes from being a bumbling, illiterate nobody who gets beaten up, into being someone not only knows the system but learns how to use it. Prison is a hard place to learn things, but one thing Malik learns quickly is to take advantage of opportunities.

This isn't the tense thriller that Cell 211 is, this is a long drama divided into chapters that chronicle Malik's time in jail. Each chapter documents a notable event in Malik's incarceration: learning who is really the boss of the jail, learning the value of loyalty, making other useful contacts, first day release, rewards, taking the initiative and leaving jail. Most of these also involve C├ęsar, a Corsican whose control extends beyond the other prisoners to the guards and to Corsican organised crime and politics. Over the years not only does Malik grow in confidence but the power shifts from one organised crime group to another and Malik has to reconsider alliances.

While Cell 211 is an intense portrayal of a few violent hours in a prison, A Prophet is a considered, longer term portrayal of one man's voyage of discovery over 6 years inside.

Ian's rating 3/5

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