155 minutes| France-Italy| 2009| Subtitled| Colour| Digital

This film was released 22nd January 2010, and is no longer screening.

Lauded on the festival circuit, Jacques Audiard’s latest is one of the great European crime flicks of recent years. Newcomer Tahar Rahim provides a compelling central presence as an initially terrified Muslim prisoner in one of France’s toughest jails, who ensures his survival by throwing his lot in with a group of Corsican lifers, becoming an essential part of the criminal operation they run from behind bars, and something of a surrogate son for their grizzled head honcho (Niels Arestrup). Whether he has their respect is another matter, as Audiard weaves a compelling, labyrinthine narrative of blackmail, murder and internecine rivalry around troubling questions of French national identity.

The film’s build-up and release of tension is masterly, its evocation of the skewed rules of life on the inside scarily convincing. And while Arestrup exudes Brando-esque charisma as the domineering heavy, Rahim matches him all the way as the steely protagonist, determined to belong, but only on his own terms. Seriously cool. Notes by Trevor Johnston. IFI Student Night, Feb 8th, 8.10, Tickets €5.

Book Tickets