[A Prayer Before Dawn is] the true story of British drug addict Billy Moore (Joe Cole), who found himself in a brutal Thai prison. Initially treated warily by his fellow inmates, he wins their respect – and maybe a chance of freedom – by becoming a kickboxer, and in the process learns there are alternatives to self-destruction. […] [A] superb film.
Andrew Lowry, Empire
Competition is stiff for the title of cinema’s most violently harrowing prison drama, and tougher still for the all-time most pummeling boxing movie. Gutsily, Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s A Prayer Before Dawn comes out fighting for both, landing a number of clear knockouts in the process. At once exhausting and astonishing, this no-holds-barred adaptation of British junkie-turned-pugilist Billy Moore’s Thai prison memoir is a big, bleeding feat of extreme cinema, given elevating human dimension by rising star Joe Cole’s ferociously physical lead performance.
Guy Lodge, Variety
This film was entirely shot on location, abandoned prisons or even working ones, and most of the supporting actors were ex-cons, murderers, drug traffickers, and other felons.
David Ungaro, cinematographer