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