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ENGLISH SUBTITLES INCLUDED Filmmakers love a good prison. No, scrub that, filmmakers adore a bad prison. You can see why. For writers and directors, the volatile jail is a ready-made theatre, its prisoners and guards with their various conflicts and loyalties all perfect players for a drama that, if it tries hard enough, can reflect life on the outside too. For French director Jacques Audiard (â€˜A Self-Made Heroâ€™, â€˜The Beat That My Heart Skippedâ€™), a master of the old-school French thriller â€“ ie thrilling and meaningful â€“ his fifth film offers the chance to pull off both a state-of-nation primal scream and a terrific crime flick. He gives us Malik (Tahar Rahim), a French-Arab convict who enters a concrete-and-steel hell to serve a sentence of six years (so we know he canâ€™t have done anything too dreadful). He tries to keep his head down, but this isnâ€™t that sort of place. The ruling bully boys are the Corsican inmates, led by ageing but vicious CÃ©sar (Niels Arestrup), who forces Malik to kill another inmate in a very successful scene thatâ€™s one of the most claustrophobic and disturbing episodes Iâ€™ve seen in a long while. From here, Malik is CÃ©sarâ€™s vassal, committed to working for him on the inside and, later, using a series of day-release excursions to represent his criminal interests on the outside. But Malik is a clever individualist â€“ a survivalist even â€“ and at the same time that he learns to read and write, he exploits a friendship with another French-Arab prisoner, now released, to pursue his own drug deals and quietly invest in a power base within the jail. This is a world where partnerships are formed only for a reason, loyalties are fluid, friends barely exist at all. Politically, itâ€™s a cynical film. Hope is absent. Whether, though, it says anything meaningful about France, Iâ€™m not so sure. Malik is an extreme character, so his experience doesnâ€™t reflect the French-Arab dilemma as a whole, even if the point is made about the number of immigrants in French jails and how being sent to prison for a minor offence can snowball into something else entirely. Audiard suggests that being an underdog â€“ socially, racially, economically â€“ in an unfriendly society can lead to desocialisation and anti-social behaviour. But Malikâ€™s story is so wild that it obscures such ideas. That said, itâ€™s testament to Audiardâ€™s skill at plunging us headfirst into a vicious parallel world that we mostly believe the filmâ€™s twisted logic and rituals. Also, his presentation of violence as a profit-and-loss account is effective and mature: while Malikâ€™s initial murder may get him far, we witness nightly visions of his victim coming back to his cell to haunt him. But there are several bite-your-tongue moments. The film is realist in style and mood, but for every five spot-on observations, there is one flight of wild fancy. Iâ€™ve seen the film twice and still find baffling an episode in which Malik predicts that a deer will hit a car, thereby suggesting he is a prophet. But the sheer force of Audiardâ€™s direction can support such enigmas. It forces you, bullies you, persuades you to love his filmmaking style â€“ even if not always to understand his motives.
To share this torrent use the code below and insert it into comments, status messages, forum posts or your signature.Torrent: French Film Collection(Film 16) A PROPHET (2009)