France / UK, 2017 (MIFF 2017, Night Shift)
Director: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
'Midnight Express meets Ong-Bak, and that's a good thing… halfway between stylized arthouse exoticism and pulpy genre thrill ride, A Prayer Before Dawn is exactly the sort of film one would hope to see in a midnight slot at a festival.' – Hollywood Reporter
Liverpool native Billy Moore is a troubled young man. Broken home, crime, violence, drugs, jail. But his life tumbles to a new nadir when he's arrested in Bangkok and thrown into the notorious Klong Prem prison. Turning to Muay Thai to survive – and fuel a burgeoning heroin habit – Moore will witness the very worst that humanity has to offer, and it will take everything he has just to make it through.
French provocateur Jean-Stephane Sauvaire (Johnny Mad Dog, MIFF 2008) returns to the brutal underworlds of masculine violence in A Prayer Before Dawn, his arresting, no-holds-barred adaptation of Billy Moore's memoir of the same name. Driven by a powerhouse performance from rising star Joe Cole, A Prayer Before Dawn is a claustrophobic, face-pulping mash of growling sound, kinetic editing and so-real-you-have-to-flinch fight scenes. In other words: pure Night Shift.
'A ferocious boxing movie that fights dirty ... one of the most unrelentingly intense symphonies of testosterone and rage ever put onscreen.' – IndieWire