Serviceable prison movie, not unlike the "Locked up above" tv series. Use of non-actors is a bold but largely correct move. The tone of the movie and overall reality of the Bangkok Hilton is entirely dependent on the act's index, serving only for pathos, more or less. The final scene is cheesy af, but the final non-twist twist was actually kinda great.
An intense dive into the purgatory of a drug addict and muay thai boxer. We never get to meet the demons from which he escapes with the help of drugs. The camera goes close, but the viewer remains an outsider. Instead the movie concentrates on fighting: the drugs, the other inmates, opponents inside the ring, and first and foremost his own self-destructive nature. Hard stuff.
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.
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.
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