Critics internationally are hailing A Prophet as an instant gangster classic and its director, Jacques Audiard, as a French Scorcese. I cannot add my tiny voice to the chorus.
Leading man, Tahar Rahim, is brilliant as a prisoner whose six-year incarceration the film follows. (And, at a bloated two-and-a-half hours, very little of those six years seems to be left out.) Tahar's character -- the film has so many superfluous characters that it's hard to recall any one's name -- is an Arab in a prison run by a Corsican gang. Apparently, that means he's f***ed.
He's propositioned in the shower on one of his first days in the slammer and summoned the next day by the head of the Corsican gang (a Godfather-like figure) and instructed to slit the throat of the guy who came on to him. He's given little choice in the matter.
Soon enough, he's the Godfather's beeatch, doing his dirty work and getting beaten up in the process. Apparently, because he's an Arab.
I'm sure there are some messages here about ethnic warfare, the nature of evil and what-have-you. But, I can't for the life of me figure out what they are, because the overly long movie is so convoluted and confusing.
I know I'm part of a tiny population of critics not to embrace this opus, but I say: Skip it!