When it comes to American remakes of foreign properties, you can’t blame us for feeling somewhat cautious. This case in particular seems to require an open mind, since Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet was one of the biggest critical hits of its year. It’s a film that’s for all intent and purposes already perfect, so why remake it at all if the original is already so well tuned to American audiences?
It’s all in the details of who is behind the reiteration, and producer Neil H. Moritz of Fast & Furious fame (or infamy, depending on your preference) doesn’t immediately seem to be the ideal choice for translating the prison epic to American viewers. On the other hand, it would be a mistake for people to expect, or even want, the same thing out of this remake as they got from the original.
Looking at the career work of Moritz (alongside producing partner Toby Jaffe), which includes I Am Legend, Prom Night, Prison Break, Battle Los Angeles, Total Recall, Jack the Giant Killer and… hey, 21 Jump Street! It’s all rather muscular mainstream work, and if we are to get a fresh re-appropriation of A Prophet, it could be an unexpected treat to have such a layered political story be given the Fast & Furious treatment, so to speak.
It’ll be interesting to see who helms the project, being mounted at Sony Pictures. I admit, my mind did jump quickly to Fast & Furious 6 director Justin Lin, who has experience in both the hard-core action world and in more independent territory with films like Better Luck Tomorrow. Some might figure him an odd choice, but a project like this most needs to find its own style and energy. It’s never going to be what Audiard’s film was, so why over-emulate?