HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
   
 
  Prayer Before Dawn, A A Hell Of A Jail
Year: 2017
Director: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
Stars: Joe Cole, Pornchanok Mabklang, Vithaya Pansringarm, Panya Yimmumphai, Nicolas Shake, Rex Basbas, Sonephet Inthisome, Russel Galupo, Nichakran Nabumrung, Somlock Kamsing, Sakda Niamhom, Chaloemporn Sawatsuk, Sura Sirmalai
Genre: Action, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Billy Moore (Joe Cole) made some mistakes in his life, but who doesn't? Mind you, not everyone's mistakes land them in the circumstances that he wound up in, as he was making a living as a kickboxer in Thailand to fund his heroin addiction, selling drugs too to keep his head above water and his veins pumping with the hard stuff. However, he was very visible there as a Westerner, and was swiftly arrested by the local police who just as speedily saw to it that he was placed behind bars for a very long time, the Thai drug laws being very strict. Now Billy was at his lowest ebb, struggling to find heroin, at risk of violence in the prison, and with no light at the end of the tunnel...

Although A Prayer Before Dawn came across in promotion like it was going to be a gritty boxing movie with the emphasis on the action sequences, it was more like an arthouse film that melded a Jean-Claude Van Damme tournament movie like Bloodsport with the prison ordeal genre such as, most blatantly, Midnight Express. That latter had been much-complained about by the Turks for its unforgiving depiction of one of their prisons, but apparently the Thais had no such qualms about the incarceration in this, possibly reasoning that by making it look as diabolical an experience as possible, it would in turn deter potential criminals from taking that life of crime.

They'll only get caught after all, and from what little we hear of the past lives of Moore's fellow inmates they had slipped into a downward spiral of a cycle of lawbreaking, from drug-taking all the way down to murder. It might have been interesting to know more about the backgrounds of those jailbirds, yet the focus was on more or less the only white person in the entire cast, which was a deliberate decision as far as you could tell, to render the protagonist's alienation so much more intense. The Thais may have been subtitled for English language speakers, but that did not result in them being appreciably more able to be understood, even when they were speaking actual English.

At the heart of it was Cole, wandering through the worst years of his life in a daze only broken when he was called upon to be violent - or indeed had violence visited upon him. In what was a cliché from the Midnight Express days onwards, he is threatened with rape, and made to have no doubts about what will happen if he does not comply with the more powerful prisoners, who we have to assume are gangsters. Then again, for heroin the guards use his muscles to beat up the Muslim inmates to keep them in line, though a repeated image is of Billy collapsing on his back in a state of exhaustion, whether thanks to getting high or physical exhaustion or even because he is in such a state of despair that he cannot face getting up and carrying on. Cole, not exactly emotive, at least conveyed those states, even when Billy fell for a ladyboy (Pornchanok Mabklang).

Also, his fighting once he got in the ring was noticeably non-Thai, and you may wonder how far behaving like that in combat would get Billy, though it was difficult to tell if this was a stylistic choice or simply the best Cole could do. The prison system we saw operated a boxing programme where the incarcerated could channel their aggression, and ambition for that matter, into legitimately beating the crap out of their cohorts, or if they were not up to the task, having seven shades of shit punched and kicked from them instead. There is gambling and corruption here, which comes as no surprise, so the main drama arose from the damage Moore's body was undertaking, and whether he would survive much longer. That this was based on his memoir would answer that question for you, and if the message was a blunt "don't do drugs, kids", it set about its grim milieu with a single-minded sense of purpose that was powerful in the way repeatedly getting booted in the head was powerful. Music by Nicolas Becker.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 632 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: