A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN

Cert 18 114mins Stars 4

This bloody real life kick boxing drama is a full contact contender for sports film of the year.

It’s based on the best-selling account of drug addicted Scouse boxer, Billy Moore, who was sentenced to three years in a Thai prison where he sought redemption in the ring.

Sweating testosterone in the lead role is Peaky Blinders star, Joe Cole. He delivers a  physically punishing performance with most of his dialogue being aggressively Anglo-Saxon.

Local former prisoners are used as actors and filming took place in a real jail, fleshing out the script which is clear-eyed about the squalid conditions and the rape, suicide and extortion suffered by the inmates.

Nimble camerawork puts us in the ring giving the fights a frightening immediacy, and  and we’re battered by a combination of smacks, screams, screeches from the tremendous sound design.

This is as far from Hollywood boxing movies as Bangkok is from Los Angeles, and is an unnervingly immersive, authentic and intense experience.

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