March 7, 2019

“A Prayer Before Dawn” (2017)

I stumbled into this gem of a flick by chance. Normally, with a title like that (which is boring and corny as fuck), unimpressive rating (it hasn’t got a good rating in IMDB or tomatoes), and the list of unknown cast like that (although some of the Thai actors apparently are famous in their own right), I’d normally take a pass at such suspiciously B-grade low budget indie movie. But for some reason, something has drawn me to it. Maybe because it was because it has got the words ‘muay thai’ and ‘prison’ in its description.

It was a surprisingly good watch. Not for the faint hearted but, you’d know what I mean if you’ve watched it (irony). This is the kind of movie that will make you squirm and gasp and freak out. The environment makes you feel and smell things, and would continue to haunt you even way after it is over. Little of it has to do with brutal fighting or action though, unlike how I originally anticipated, but more on psychologically haunting – quite contrary from its description as ‘drama’.

Story’s about a British guy who got hauled to prison in Thailand for drug possession, and got caged in a small overcrowded communal prison space with a bunch of other Thai prisoners. Being a white guy, he attracted a lot of attention and the story details about his daily struggle in the prison. There’s this super fucked up disturbing scene where some of the dominant prison inmates dragged a skinny ass guy and gang raped him at night, much to the horror of the protagonist in this story. I fucking squirmed like a roly poly, and this prison rape scene haunted me for days. The even more fucked up thing was, the guy who got raped sounded a lot like a counterpart of mine at work, and whenever I am in the meeting hearing that counterpart’s voice, I’d think of this prison rape scene (FML). There’s also the romance between this British farang and a transgender guy in the prison, and they actually made out. Fucking disturbing to the max!

Anyway, I can’t help but admire the work of whoever that cinematographed the whole flick. It was gritty, real and very immersive. Plot’s a bit weak, but it was the projected environment that made the watch enjoyable. The director did a good job conveying the experience to the viewer through a masterful use of the camera and set. I read around that the movie is based on a true story, but the events in the movie were spiced up for ‘creativity and dramatic purposes’. *shudders* I’d rate it 8 out of 10.

michaelooi  | movie reviews  | 

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