‘A Prayer Before Dawn’ Unleashes the Beast Within

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Officially selected for the Cannes Film Festival, A Prayer Before Dawn is a powerful film based on the memories A Prayer Before Dawn: My Nightmare in Thailand’s Prisons by English boxer, Billy Moore (Joe Cole) who spent two years incarcerated in Thailand.

Having to  deal survive the world of gang violence, Moore leans of the underground Muay Thai tournament. Moore must master, “the art of the eight limbs” in order to buy his freedom.

I am usually weary of these, “based on true story” movies ever since learning that Frank Dux’s life in Bloodsport may have been totally fabricated, but as most East-meets-West films, I am always intrigued to give them a look, especially when movies like this are shot on location.  Nakhon Pathom Prison (doubling for Klong Prem Prison, the notorious Bangkok Hilton) in Thailand and using real inmates to give a real grit that could never be captured on a film set, which automatically increases the films credibility.

The film opens with Moore wrapping the hands of an adolescent about to get in the ring. The camera cuts quickly to Moore taking a hit from a crack pipe before his bout, which looks far more like MMA than Muay Thai as his drug addiction is what landed him in prison.

Moore’s life is endanger not only from all the drug use, but the concussions he has received through all this fighting. If the Thai boxing or drugs don’t kill him, a few more blows to the head will.

Although prison rape scenes seem to be a common occurrence in films, the one in this movie went on longer than necessary to hammer the point home of just how horrible prison life can be on people, especially with the end result depicted in this one.

 

A Prayer Before Dawn
  • Overall Score
4.5

The Verdict

‘A Prayer Before Dawn’ is a gritty film that leaves you breathless, speechless, yet somehow hopeful.

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