A Prayer Before Dawn


Daring and brutal, this film is a knockout Discuss this article

© ITP Images

Once in a blue moon, there are movies that showcase a promising actor’s range of talents so well that the film instantly receives high praise and the lead is made a star. Think Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver or even Emma Stone in Easy A – these cult hits work so well because of their enticing leads. Joe Cole’s performance in A Prayer Before Dawn should join that list.

The film is based on the brutal true story of Billy Moore, a young English boxer who’s thrown in jail for three years in two of Thailand’s most infamous prisons. It takes a bleak look at how he came to survive the criminalised world inside through learning and training in the deadly (but awesome to see on-screen) martial art, Muay Thai.

Best known for his role in popular TV crime-drama, Peaky Blinders, Cole looks beastly for the movie, and he portrays his character’s ferocious and brutal actions, along with his struggles with anger, immaculately throughout the running time.

We see the tough life the troubled boxer has behind bars and the seemingly contradictory life the inmates lead, from camaraderie between cell mates to the savagery of the Muay Thai bouts (that are often almost unwatchable they’re so graphic).

The film wouldn’t pack as big a punch without its authenticity. The poorly kept prison and the Thai cast make the viewing experience all too real. Seeing the state of the living conditions alone is enough to know how different Moore’s life becomes.

For a visceral cinematic experience, it won’t get much better than A Prayer Before Dawn this year.

The bottom line
Daring and brutal, this film is a knockout.

By Darragh Murphy
Time Out Doha,

A Prayer Before Dawn

  • Released: Thu, 12 Jul
  • Language: English
  • Director: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
  • Stars: Joe Cole, Vithaya Pansringarm, Panya Yimmumphai

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