'A Prayer Before Dawn' [Blu-ray+Digital]
(Joe Cole, Pornchanok Mabklang, Panya Yimmumphai, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / R / 2018 / Lionsgate Films)
Overview: Billy Moore, an English boxer, down on his luck, addicted to Ya Ba, and stuck in Thailand, ends up getting arrested and sent to Chiang Mai Prison, where he struggles to survive and eventually ends up fighting in Muay Tai boxing tournaments.
Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, to review this movie I decided to do my research on the real Billy Moore, on which this biopic is based, of course.
And my oh my, what an incredible life this man has had. Telling it like it is, Billy Moore took up boxing to survive in a Thai jail - his story now being told here via Joe Cole and the director of 'Johnny Mad Dog,' Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire.
At 45, Billy Moore has been in and out of prison for around half of his adult life. But nothing could have prepared him for the brutality of life in one of Thailand’s most notorious prisons. He once said, “I did get battered a lot, I did get beat – but I fought back.”
Now, and as much as all that sounds rather bloody and explosive, 'A Prayer Before Dawn' is a slow burn, uber realistic, and massively painful movie to watch (but for all the good reasons, of course).
Watching everything that happens inside that Thai prison, which is basically hell, this is now Jean-Claude Van Damme, swinging-leg action movie, my friends.
Yes, there are raw, horrible and disturbing sites, but it's important to anyone who sees this devastingly brilliant movie to understand that it can also be viewed as containing a wealth of educational value.
Ergo, the Thai boxing is just a minor part of the movie, and a tool to show how far a man is willing to go. How much one man has to suffer, to survive, to get redemption, and fight his inside demons.
Chock full of amazing camera work, acting of all actors, funnily enough, especially the Thai prisoners (most participant are not actors at all) is wondrously deep. It all looks so real that you almost forget it's a movie and not a real-life documentary.
The lead actor, Cole, is a brave guy to take such a hard role, which obviously required a lot of practice and preparation. Ergo, I highly recommend you watch it and learn from it, as much as you can. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.38:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Locked Inside The Walls: Making A Prayer Before Dawn
Billy Moore: In His Own Words