For reasons known only to themselves the western distributors of this movie decided to change the title to "Bangkok Hell" and market it with the slogans "Stronger than Midnight Express" (whatever that means) and "Once they lock you in there's only one way out!" They summarise the film thus; What really goes on in the dark, grisly, brutal, all male world of prison in Thailand.
Therefore, upon seeing the western dvd cover, you may be expecting a sensationalist film full of sadistic beatings and violent gang rape!
You would be very wrong!
If you must compare this film to a western one, then compare it to The Shawshank Redemption or maybe even Cool Hand Luke.
Ray is an ordinary guy, but his world collapses when he decides to accept the unspoken challenge to a race on the public road. The race ends in tragedy, with Ray killing a pedestrian and Ray is sent to gaol.
Life in prison is difficult, until the prison governor offers him a job, asking him to watch and inform on his fellow prisoners!
Ray does well, and gains the trust, even friendship, of the governor. But Ray begins to realise that many of the inmates are innocent, or the victims of bad circumstances. Like the man with the longest sentence in the prison.
Ray is still fairly new inside, and is talking with 2 men who have befriended him. Ray says that although conditions are bad, they did all bring it on themselves. He also opines that the longer the sentence, the worse the crime and that those with really long sentences must be scum.
One of the men says in that case he must be the lowest scum of all, as he has the longest sentence of any man in the prison; 100 years!
Ray can't believe this, and asks what terrible crime the man committed. The answer, pawning government property. He was a music teacher and fell on hard times. So he pawned some musical instruments belonging to the school. Fifty of them. Two years per instrument! He also says that there are worse off than him, as some of the prisoners are completely innocent.
An absorbing film, it grabs the attention and holds it to the very end.