Most prison movies dredge up drama from the horrific institutionalized brutality behind bars, and while Jacques Audiard’s crime drama A Prophet
never shies away from the cruelty of an inmate’s life, it focuses on much more than just that.
The film stars Tahar Rahim as Malik, a 19-year-old Arab just beginning a six-year stretch in a French prison. He is without friends on the inside, and quickly comes under the thumb of leonine Corsican tough-guy Cesar (Niels Arestrup), who orders Malik to kill a fellow inmate or be killed himself. After completing the task, Malik is haunted by visions of the man he murdered, but he also sets about taking classes in o...