Foreign Policy Blogs

A Prophet (2009)

By Sean Patrick Murphy
This film follows the rise of an Arab sentenced to six years in a French prison.
At 19, Malik El Djebena is a lone wolf.
That is until he is ensnared in a plot to kill someone on behalf of the powerful Corsicans in the prison. Literally, it’s kill or be killed for the young man.
The way in which Malik takes on his first assignment is reminiscent of that carried out in the movie La Femme Nikita.
Malik tries to straddle the line between the Arabs and the Corsicans, all the while telling people he works for himself, not for any particular gang.
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Even though he is accepted by the Corsicans, many in the gang are openly hostile to him for being an Arab.
Every time Malik takes on a new assignment, the audience is left with jangling nerves, never knowing how it will turn out.
Tahar Rahim does an excellent job as Malik and Niels Arestrup is wonderful as the Corsican gang leader who uses and takes care of Malik. It is entertaining to chart the growing relationship between these two men.
This movie also shows the subtle shift in power among the rival gangs and how a leader can fall from power in prison quickly and definitively.


A Prophet
is compelling and gritty and the violence is brutal, swift, and bloody.
While not for the faint at heart and mostly depressing, this film is a must-see.
A Prophet is available to rent.
Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]

 

Author

Sean Patrick Murphy
Sean Patrick Murphy

Sean Patrick Murphy is a graduate of Bennington College, where he majored in politics and Latin American literature. He has worked for Current History magazine, Physicians for Human Rights, and Citizens for Global Solutions (formerly the World Federalist Association). He lives outside Philadelphia.

Areas of Focus:
Cinematography; Independent Films; Documentary;

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