Un Prophète (A Prophet), 2009
Dir: Jacques Audiard
Hey, it's art-house Thursday! What's that? You say that everyday is art-house day here? Well, I guess that is true, but this is special in that I actually went to the art house tonight. So what have we here? It's A Prophet, which stays true to the sort of extreme cinema verite style (watch the first "mission" that the Corsicans give Malik (Tahar Rahim) and you'll know what I mean) that's coming out of France these days. A bit conventional plot-wise (most of us are well acquainted with this kind of story) but strong performances, subtle directing (half of the choices I really liked and half I didn't like at all, especially the dumb dream stuff and visions; but all that is pretty much a crap-shoot with me anyway) and the perfect amount of attention to the minutiae of incarceration makes it rise way above the regular Hollywood prison drama, or even your run-o-the-mill gangster flick. This is a bit of both and it definitely works in it's favor. It's been long since I rooted so much for a hero to overcome his obstacles, especially because the movie doesn't go out of its way to make him heroic, even if you know that he will become a "prophet."