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Trailer Watch: A Prayer Before Dawn

Director Jean-Stephane Sauvaire, whose 2008 debut feature, Johnny Mad Dog, was a thrillingly immersive journey into the world of African child soldiers, makes his long-awaited return to theaters with another picture — A Prayer Before Dawn — set within a violent community: Thai kickboxers in the country’s infamous Bang Kwang Central Prison.

Wrote Guy Lodge at Variety upon the film’s Cannes premiere:

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. For French director Sauvaire, it’s a return to the hungry, technically dazzling form of his unshakeable 2008 child-soldier study Johnny Mad Dog, as well as a testament to his suitability for an international range of hard-genre projects.

A Prayer Before Dawn opens next year from A24.

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