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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


A Prophet [Blu-ray]


(Jacques Audiard, 2009)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: UGC Distribution

Video: Sony Pictures



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:35:22.354

Disc Size: 49,955,087,812 bytes

Feature Size: 44,149,850,112 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.49 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 3rd, 2010



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio French 3906 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3906 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 2936 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2936 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), French, German, Turkish, none

Commentary subtitles: English, German, none



• Commentary with Jacques Audiard, actor Tahar Rahim and co-writer Thomas Bidegain

Deleted Scenes (10:34 in SD)

• Rehearsal Footage (8:38 in SD)

5 Screen Tests (5:00 in SD)

• Theatrical Trailer (2:02 in HD!)





Description: "As epic as The Godfather." -Kevin Maher,The London Times

"Like The Godfather, which it regularly recalls, A Prophet serves up crime as a metaphor for life and power…" -John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

"The film's hero is a cousin to the protagonists of The Godfather or Scarface, but the movie writes its gangland saga without phony mob glamour." - Robert Horton, Everett Herald

"If Malik doesn't remind you of Al Pachino's Michael Corleone on his journey from innocence to corruption in The Godfather saga, well…he should. A Prophet is similarly, startlingly momentous." -Stephen Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A Prophet is a new crime classic." -Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"4 out of 4 stars." -Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"A stylish revelation, recalling The Godfather…" -James Verniere, The Boston Herald

"A Prophet is Godfather good…" -Karen Durbin, Elle

"A Godfather saga set behind bars, Audiard's riveting tale of a young Arab's rise within the inmate hierarchy is as compelling as filmmaking gets." -Paul Ennis, Now Magazine



The Film:

Jacques Audiard is a film-maker who understands the dramatic – and sometimes comic – thrills of self-invention. In A Self-Made Hero (1996) Mathieu Kassowitz played a man who counterfeited a glorious past as a Resistance fighter. In Read My Lips (2001) a put-upon secretary turns her deafness to account in an elaborate plan to rip off her boss. In The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005) a small-time Parisian hoodlum puts aside his thuggish tendencies to explore his potential as a classical pianist. Audiard's characters are schemers and strivers: by dint of graft, wit and endurance they make a journey of transformation before our eyes. It is precisely what great drama should be about. 

Malik El Djebena, the Arab teen protagonist of his latest film, A Prophet, faces the toughest trial yet: a Darwinian struggle for survival inside a brutal French prison. Sent down for six years, 19-year-old Malik can't read or write, hasn't a family on the outside nor a friend on the inside, and on his first day in jail is violently mugged for his trainers. If only that was the worst of it. We don't know what crime Malik was sentenced for, but it obviously wasn't murder, because he almost combusts with panic when the prison's Corsican gang boss Cesar Luciani (Niels Arestrup) coerces him into bumping off an Arab inmate who is due to testify against his interests. "I can't kill anyone," Malik mutters forlornly to himself – but he must, and soon, otherwise they are going to kill him.

Excerpt from The Independent (UK) located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Visually the transfer of A Prophet to Blu-ray by Sony appears perfect - supporting the various cinematography - hand-held kinetic shots, static and tracking motion all utilized in different sequences. Some shots are much grainer than others giving some important texture to the image canvas and colors are vibrant once venturing outside the prison confines. The tight gritty nature of the narrative carries over from the adept image quality with limited instances of depth. This is dual-layered with the 2.5 hour, 1.85:1, feature taking up over 44 Gig of space on the disc. The healthy bitrate produces and image free of undue noise or artifacts. Predictably, it is clean transfer free of any damage or marks. In fact it is very hard to find flaw with the way A Prophet looks in 1080P. I strongly expect it looks exactly as the filmmakers intended and the Blu-ray produces a highly rewarding viewing experience.

















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 in original French at 3906 kbps doesn't take a backseat to the image. The transfer has subtle moments in day-to-day functions in lonely cell as well as some highly aggressive moments with punchy bass-pounding violence coming in many forms. Like The Ghost Writer we have another excellent score by Alexandre Desplat. The lossless track suports it well and there is a German DUB available as well. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.



Extras :

We get the French language audio commentary with Jacques Audiard, actor Tahar Rahim and co-writer Thomas Bidegain that appears on European discs. It is offered here with optional English or German subtitles in the same font as those available for the feature film. It covers a lot of ground with each participant discussing their area of expertise. After that is a kind of mish-mash of deleted scenes, rehearsal footage, and 5 interesting screen tests running about 23-minutes in total for all in SD. There is also an HD theatrical trailer and some Sony Previews plus the disc is BD-Live functional. The commentary is certainly worthwhile for those as keen on the film as I was.



Well... easily the most brutal and impacting 'prison film' I've ever seen. A Prophet pulls no punches in its realistic depictions. The story seems, like the protagonist, always evolving into new areas of crime, violence while, in turn, educating the viewer. While I didn't find the comparisons to The Godfather as direct as some - it tells the survival aspects of one thrust into the gangster world with a precise storytelling style that elevates it far above the norm. This borders on masterpiece direction and Audiard has moved steadily forward from his adroit but less convincing The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005). The Blu-ray supports an inspiring presentation that tacks on the nuances of film-level features. A Prophet makes for a very worthy viewing - exhausting for some - but more for its content than 2.5 hour length. We strongly recommend! 

Gary Tooze

July 31st, 2010




About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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