08 June 2010

A Prophet

For whatever reason, the preview for this movie didn't make me want to see it. I kind of thought it'd be gratuitously brutal and just not that good. But it was playing at my local campus theatre, and I kept hearing it was really good, so I figured I'd check it out. I'm so glad I did. Wow. This movie is stunning. Visually, it's jaw-droppingly incredible. It's so incredibly shot, it's just exquisite. The plot, while a little bit confusing (to me at least) keeps you interested, and really, it's particulars are less important than the development of the main character, which is incredibly compelling.

Malik goes from being a basically mute guy who falls afoul of the law to being a self-assured, educated criminal. The simultaneous development of the criminality and the self-assurance is the really fascinating part. You're always cheering for him, even when he's doing some pretty fucked up things. Partly, this is because he retains a kind of innocence - there's an absolutely breathtaking scene where he flies on an airplane for the first time, but there's also this moment in a scene where he's basically executing some guys where it suddenly switches to silent slow-motion and he's just kind of floating in this pile of bodies in a vaguely Christ-like way. It's really impressive.

This isn't something that I tend to notice much, but the sound in the movie was phenomenal. There are, to my recollection, only 3 songs in the film, but each of them is so fantastically effective in setting the scene. Aside from those though, the sound is kind of... barren, in a way, which makes it somehow more powerful. Really impressive stuff.

It's not a perfect film - some of the sideplots are slightly less compelling, and it feels a bit cluttered at moments, but still, it's a really incredible movie. Very much worth seeing - on the big screen if you can, because seriously, visually, it's a masterpiece.

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