A Prayer Before Dawn: What You Need To Know
In 2005, Liverpool resident and aspiring boxer Billy Moore decided to make a change in his life, leaving behind a life in one of his hometown's least affluent areas and a series of petty crimes to start a new life in Thailand.
At first, Billy looked to be getting his life back on track, aiming to use his boxing skills as a platform for a new lifestyle and career, but then he was arrested for possession of drugs and stolen goods, and his life was turned upside down as he was sentenced to 3 years in a Thai prison.
On his release, Moore channelled his experiences into a memoir named A Prayer Before Dawn: My Nightmare in Thailand's Prisons, and earlier this year his story was adapted for the big screen.
A Prayer Before Dawn arrives in stores on Monday (September 24th), here's everything you need to know...
Who's in it?
Joe Cole stars as Billy Moore, alongside a mostly Thai cast that includes Muay Thai boxer-turned actor Somluck Kamsing.
And who's directing?
French director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire (Johnny Mad Dog, La Mule) is the man behind the lens on this one. He works from a script written by Bad Country screenwriter Jonathan Hirschbein.
What's the plot?
The film picks up Billy's story after his move to Thailand, with Billy busy training in a backstreet boxing gym. He may have left his old home behind, but elements of his former lifestyle still cling to him, including an addiction to drugs. It's this addiction which soon lands him in trouble with the law, and Billy is swiftly arrested and handed a three year sentence, first being sent to Chang Mai prison before being transferred to the notoriously harsh Klong Prem prison in Bangkok.
Here he witnesses all manor of horrors including savage beatings and even rapes, often getting into skirmishes with the various prison gangs and sometimes being badly beaten himself. After one particularly severe kicking, one of the prison guards who has noticed his boxing skills in the gym suggests that he should stop fighting the gangs and use his ability on the prison boxing team. Billy takes the advice and gradually establishes himself as one of the prison's best fighters.
All of this is despite advice from doctors who tell Billy that a rupture he suffered as a result of his drug abuse could be lethal to him if he continues to fight, but Billy is determined to prove his worth in the ring in the hope that success will expedite his release.
Does it deliver?
The first thing to say here is that this is not your typical redemption story, as many recent films about boxers have tended to be (Moore missed the premiere of the film about his life as the result of an arrest for burglary, this time back here in the UK). Instead, A Prayer Before Dawn is a gritty and often gruesome depiction of the harsh realities of life inside a particularly brutal prison system, one that could just as easily have taken his life.
Director Sauvaire deserves a lot of credit for the way Moore's story is told here and Joe Cole gives an outstanding performance that makes this film well worth watching, particularly if you're a fan of combat sports.