directed by Jacques Audiard
Jacques Audiard is a great director who has director other great films, but none so powerful, so plainly enthralling and so beautiful. This film and Steve McQueen’s magnificent Hunger are hands down two of the best prison films of recent years, and where both films succeed is in their ardent adherence to sincerity. While Hunger dealt with true events, Audiard and Thomas Bidegain craft a tale that is almost a fable, an allegory of the criminal collective, fleshing out a steadfast and riveting arc that reflects the passage of time. Tahar Rahim is out of sight as Malik, who comes under the servitude of the Corsican mob while serving a 6 year stint in prison. As Malik learns his way around the inner workings of prison economics, his power grows and his rough naivety seems to dissolve. Audiard blends the real and the surreal like Mabrouk El Mechri does in the tragically underrated JCVD, illustrating the ghosts that haunt Malik like the Beast that haunts Gal Dove in Sexy Beast. Alexandre Desplat’s score is phenomenal, and Audiard’s film is one of those films that takes you along for a journey that really seems to take years, and I mean that in the best possible way. A wonderful film.