Wednesday, 28 October 2009

London Film Festival: A Prophet

I’d like to introduce a new addition to The Incredible Suit team today; none other than Fidget from Time Bandits. Hello, Fidget!

I’ve decided to employ Fidget on a freelance basis (i.e. I’m not paying him) after his relentless mithering during various films I’ve seen recently that have failed to hold my attention for very long. It’s at the point in a movie when my mind wanders and I start thinking about why there’s always one teaspoon left in the washing up bowl when you empty the water out that Fidget appears and starts prodding me, making me shift about in my seat, or sprinkles magic sleepy dust in my eyes, making it difficult to stay awake and keep track of what little is going on on screen.

Fidget’s contribution to The Incredible Suit is The Fidget Factor, a measurement of what percentage of a film’s running time is taken up with daydreaming, restless twitching and involuntary drooling from the corner of one’s gobhole.

To illustrate, take Monday’s London Film Festival screening of Un Prophète (trans: A Prophet. Fluent, me). Now it’s a dangerous thing to describe a film in your Festival bumf with words like “astounding”, “crime drama of the year”, “visceral intensity”, and especially the phrase “More exciting than Mesrine”, because a) that is a lot of exciting thrillery to live up to and b) Mesrine had me on a diet of fingernails for the best part of four hours.

Needless to say it was a bit rubbish. A French prison drama about a petty crook who comes under the wing of a mid-level Corsican mobster in chokey and eventually starts to take charge of his own blood-soaked destiny, A Prophet is about 45 minutes too long and severely lacking in anything approaching the “visceral intensity” or “fingernail-biting anticipation” promised by the LFF. If Jacques Mesrine had been incarcerated in this prison he’d have broken out for a café au lait and broken in again before anyone had noticed he’d gone.

Despite an excellent performance by Tahar Rahim as the French Arab criminal around whom the film revolves, I lost track of who was Corsican, who was French and who was Algerian after about an hour, and it was at this point that who should pop up but my old chum Fidget, with a colander on his head, poking me with his little sausage fingers and asking for a job.

So The Incredible Suit gives A Prophet an uninspiring five out of ten, but more importantly, what does Fidget say?

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  1. I love fidget :)

  2. Mmm, I can relate to fidget as well.I normally use a numb bum measure, but fidget works as well.

    I thought Prophet was better than rubbish though. I did think it was pretty visceral, I did sometimes lose track of the ethnic background of quite a few people at times, and I couldn't help thinking of the guy from Delicatessan (Dominique Pinon) whenever Cesar appeared. A little disconcerting when he is ramming spoons into people's eyes. I won't be able to watch Mic Macs without flinching now.

    I started noticing my numb bum after about 1.5 hours and then started wondering just how long the film was, based on the fact there was no evidence o fProphetness at that point. It was a little over-long but I'm glad I watched it. Thought the story was pretty good, showed how the character grew and learned. And basically how prison taught him everything he needed to know. I'd say 7/10.

    Ms So So Jeans

  3. Sugar Kane's The Name1 February 2010 at 12:54

    Watched The Prophet at the weekend. Loved it. Are we comparing it to Mesrine because it's French and has bad people in it? Comparisons should prob. stop there. I found parts of The Prohphet very moving and the acting superb. Had no idea Anthony Worrell Thompson could act so well (or speak French and Italian so fluently - in part of Corsican boss-man).

  4. Sugar, we're comparing it to Mesrine because the London Film Festival said A Prophet was more exciting. I thought that was a load of tommywaddle myself but each to their own and all that! Glad you liked it, it deserves to be seen whatever idiot holes like me think.

  5. I liked it a little more than you but not much. I too really enjoyed MESRINE (which, again like you, I think is the better film) and this just isn't in the same league in terms of it's compelling nature or even basic story and premise.