Not since 'Starred Up' has a prison drama hit home quite so viciously. Conceptual juxtapositions: silence/noise, tender/savage, primal/enlightened, internal/external, hell/utopia. This sensory assault is one of the most visceral films of the past few years. It's no hyperbole to state that it is guaranteed to stay with you leaving you contemplating mortality and fringes of humanity.
Visceral, grimy, shocking and pulling absolutely no punches. Joe Cole is utterly believable here and takes a heavy beating in several long fight sequences that are a flurry of growling, heaving testosterone. The camera work, grade and raw production design combine beautifully to bring to life the seedier underbelly of Thailand. 4 stars
7/10. Brutal and sparse, A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN is an intense portrait of addiction. Strangely, we never really learn who the central character is--he remains this archetype of self destruction the whole film, with very few attempts to get to know him. The film relies on handheld a bit too much early on, but overall the fight scenes feel real and brutal.
Sleeper hit of the year. This no-holds-barred biopic is a mesmerizing display of brutality that doesn't pull punches on the issues of addiction and grief. Beautiful cinematography, wonderful performance from Joe Cole. Well worth your time.