A Prophet 8/10
Forget recidivism. "A Prophet" shows us how prison can generate new hardcore criminals, as evidenced by the protagonist Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim in his superb film debut) and his unexpected rise to power within prison. Director Jacques Audiard is in his element, crafting a realistic and chilling look into life within the walls of a French prison where gang-related and racial tensions permeate the facility, rising to a head in a few notable instances which result in a change in the prison hierarchy and Malik's standing within the prison. Malik uses the most of his prison furloughs to do dirty work for Luciani (the in-prison boss, played brilliantly by Niels Arestrup) while also organizing other business for himself. By the time he is set to leave prison, he has positioned himself in such a way that it is easy (and scary) to see that prison might have been the best thing that ever happened to him.