A Prayer Before Dawn is based on the 2011 autobiography of Billy Moore, a Liverpudlian boxer who moves to Thailand to escape a history of drug abuse and crime.
The film picks up in Thailand, showing Moore (played by Peaky Blinders star Joe Cole) engaging in a drug-fuelled fight, before finding himself once more one the wrong side of the law and a prisoner in the notorious ‘Bangkok Hilton’. After witnessing the darker side of prison, Moore turns to Muay Thai for his salvation, putting his boxing experience to use and fighting as a way to escape from violence and addiction.
If you’re going to see this film looking for a standard fight film you’re most likely barking up the wrong tree. A Prayer Before Dawn has a much heavier focus on the dark, gritty reality of being in prison and the struggles that come with it, emphasised with close up video and great sound design. The majority of the film’s communication is in Thai, intentionally left un-subtitled in a way which leaves you feel just as lost and out of place as Moore. With a much smaller focus on training and fighting this film isn’t going to be a casual Friday night movie, but is worth watching if you’re looking for something heavier on the drama and lighter on the fighting.
“Hey, I wanna train. I’m a boxer. I can show you I can fight. I need to fight.”
– Billy Moore
3.5 stars out of 5