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Richard E. Grant,
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The R of the title stands for the young protagonist, Rune, fearlessly played by Pilou Asbæk. Imprisoned for violent assault, he's a cocky, good-looking young man placed in the hardcore ward, where his survival depends on quickly learning the prison's parallel world of rules, honor, and obligations. R also stands for Rachid, a young Muslim prisoner who becomes Rune's friend and accomplice, defying the rigid racial stratifications among the inmates. Written by
Los Angeles Film Festival
A Danish version of Un Prophete that isn't as good.
aw this film at it's press screening this morning at Edinburgh International Film Festival. I'd heard it was meant to be the next 'Un Prophete'. Certainly if you haven't seen 'Un Prophete' you may well think this film is brilliant. Those that have seen 'Un Prophete' however may go away a little bit disappointed. There is just too much that is the same in both films. Both the films explore the tough inner workings of a prison from the point of view of a new comer. We are not told why this main character is in prison, only that he maybe stabbed somebody. He seems to be a good guy who is trapped working for a gang in prison. He's made to do tasks he doesn't want to do so he isn't treated like dirt, or killed. there is also another gang in the prison made up of Albanians etc etc .etc .
It's the same old prison story that's getting told over and over. It is however a solid story so it's what they do with it that matters.
They succeed in creating a likable main character that we sympathise with and support. They show how gritty and corrupt a Danish prison is. They do the whole thing with sexy camera angle's and expert editing.
I was enjoying the movie, until I began to feel it wasn't going anywhere, then near the end we switch character perspective and follow a different character for the last fifteen minutes. For me, the story ends with our main character, I'm not interested in seeing his friend story for another 15minutes, that just didn't work for me. I saw others shifting uncomfortably in the audience as well. When the second end does come though it does hit with impact. I found myself wanting to look away as it was fairly intense.
The film is on some levels very good, the soundtrack is perfect, well there's no songs just an intense score. The acting is amazing, the set is great, editing brilliant, script, pretty flawless. It's the story that just didn't grab me like it should've. There was nothing I hadn't seen before. It was a classic prison movie, done better than most, but not as good as 'Un Prophete' and 'Shawshank'. I was blown away by some shots in the film which were just incredible.
'Un Prophete' for me is the best prison movie, it has everything, it is long, but justifiably. R is shorter at 90 minutes, but it was the end that spoiled it for me. If R had come out before 'Un Prophete' I'd probably like it better, but R doesn't explore much that 'Un Prophete' doesn't. I just wasn't interested in the last 15/20minutes. It's a shame, a lot of work has obviously gone into the film. It is still worth seeing. However I'd recommend most people just stick with 'Un Prophete'.
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