Cell 211 (Celda 211) Reviews
Juan (Alberto Ammann) is about to start work as a prison guard and is taking a tour of a maximum security area when he is injured slightly in an accident and left behind as a riot breaks out. Juan convinces Malamadre (Luis Tosar), the convicts' leader, that he is a new inmate who has been beaten up by guards, and the two men become close as the crisis escalates.
The film opens with the look of a low budget television film and at first I began to think I shouldn't have listened to the plaudits I'd read of this. Not before long though, it really kicks into gear and cranks up the tension and excitement. Within minutes I was hooked. I'm an avid fan of prison drama's, with their high level of suspense and on edge atmosphere and sense of danger. This is no different and wastes no time in exposing you to the violence and brutality of the inmates. Helped no end by two excellent central performances, particulary Luis Tosar as the snarling dominant ring leader. Director Daniel Monzon keeps the story briskly moving with several moments of unbearable and skillfully handled suspense and the fact that it avoids the usual genre conventions with many unexpected plot developments, helps in keeping you captivated and wondering what direction it will go in. European cinema seems to be reaching a bigger audience these days and this is another worthy of attention.
Fans of the 2009 French film "A Prophet", or any prison drama for that matter, should find plenty to enjoy here. An excellent well crafted film that delivers tension in spades.
The story of two men on different sides of a prison riot -- the inmate leading the rebellion and the young guard trapped in the revolt, who poses as a prisoner in a desperate attempt to survive the ordeal.
"Cell 211" mostly benefits from its authentic claustrophobic ambiance, marvelously detailed character drawings and contemporary accurate social statements. The convicted criminals perhaps come across as nihilistic scum, but in fact they run a well-structured and respectably effective little organization and their goals are actually even modest and understandable. Especially Malamadre, the seemingly brute and feared leader, is really a rational and "likable" character in comparison to some of the prison superiors and sadist wardens. "Cell 211" remains suspenseful and involving from the first minute until the very last, thanks to a couple of totally unexpected and truly shocking surprise twists that haunt your thoughts even long after the film's finished. Daniel Monzon assures a solid direction and the performances of the entire cast are terrific. Some performances are even close to phenomenal, like Luis Tosar's portrayal of Malamadre and Antonio Resines' unthankful role as the veteran guard Utrilla. Highly recommended and definitely worthy of all the awards that it won already in its home country!
Within the first 5-10 minutes, I knew I was going to like it. Then it started, and I LOVED it. The acting was amazing, and I really liked Alberto Ammann's character and actually cared about what he was going through.
The latter half of the movie was a little weaker than the first, preventing it from getting a perfect rating. But it was still absolutely amazing.
This movie is extremely violent but not only at a physical level, and delivers pure emotions throughout it's whole plot. It'll keep you at the edge of your seat for two hours.
Unpredictable and intense prison thriller.