Cell 211 (Celda 211) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2014
If you get through the gory opening scene, then you will probably love the rest of this action-packed prison flick that draws a very fine line between the good guys and the bad guys with its clever conceit: an eager new guard comes in a day before he starts his job and, through a terrible coincidence, gets caught up in a riot for the ages. There's one scene that seems unlikely - slight spoiler, a much-hated guard is thrown to the wolves - but the rest of the movie is white-knuckle drama (with a surprising and interesting political dimension behind it) that takes a character and tests him in a way a few films do. Brave, exciting work that swept the Goyas (Spain's Oscars) in 2009. Definitely see this one.
Super Reviewer
September 11, 2010
Very well done. Really good cast. I was extremely caught up in it from beginning to end....and it sure didn't end the way that I expected it to. Good job!
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2011
Like "Let the Right One In" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" this is another European film that has unashamedly been set up for an American remake already (Paul Haggis being the man involved). Seldom are remakes anywhere near as good and yet again, this will prove a hard one to match.
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.
Super Reviewer
½ August 11, 2010
Scarier than any recent horror film, as violent as a Tarantino one, tense and chilling. Tragic thriller on life's drastic, sudden changes for the worse. Luis Tosar is splendid as Malamadre, the prison's "king thug", supported by an outstanding cast. Goya winner 'Celda 211' stays with you long after the picture's over.
Super Reviewer
May 20, 2010
Depends on many coincidences and wishful thinking, but the acting is strong, the characters convincing and the movie never lets you go. While something like The Chaser has the police acting like stupid morons Cell 211 knows cops are smarter than that, but more importantly, it knows how a corrupt and deeply flawed system of justice works, how personal interests will always stand before any real search for justice. Cell 211 has the cojones to go all the way to it's most dramatic possibilities. This is no prison drama where carving a hole with a spoon leads you to freedom, there's nobody to cheer here, nobody to "side" with. It's all about survival, and how this powerful instinct will make us do whatever it takes to achieve that.
Super Reviewer
½ July 16, 2010
"Relax, we all know you're the big murderer here. Compared to you, we're all amateurs. Though you always kill from a distance. Boom and that's that."

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!
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2010
A relentless, savage and brutal film and a powerful damnation of the prison system in Spain. There's no redemption, no catharsis, no way out. Would make a fantastic, albeit depressing, double bill with "Un prophete".
Super Reviewer
½ April 9, 2010
8 Goya awards at the "Spanish Oscars" was what intrigued me to watch it. The film is a powerful prison thriller, with sharp direction and atmospheric cinematography. But it is the inspiring and compelling performances of the two lead actors that really lift the film to a higher ground.
Super Reviewer
April 21, 2010
Nobody will admit it, but this is a remake of Con Air. What it does differently is take out all the cartoon characters and make it hard, gritty, and unflinching. It's beautifully written, fast paced, and will leave you perched on the edge of your seat. The best Spanish prison film I've ever seen.
Super Reviewer
½ January 6, 2011
I decided to rebel and watch something with a plot that actually interested me.

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.
Super Reviewer
May 9, 2010
Fantastic prison drama that grabs hold and never lets up.
Super Reviewer
April 18, 2010
The action starts immediately and the characters are build through out the movie. There are a few flashbacks, just to cool off the action momentarily. The acting is great, well directed and well filmed. The characters are extremely real and believable.
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.
January 20, 2015
Inteligente drama carcelario y una de las peliculas espa├▒olas m├ s taquilleras del pasado a├▒o.Seguro que ya piensan en su versi├▓n americana.
December 12, 2009
Magnificient movie with wonderful actings (exceptional Luis Tosar as Malamadre, with his accent from Seville, even enormously fun in some moments, and scaring the others), about prisons, corruption, power, honor codes, and what can happen to a man when he is in the wrong place, and how he can change. Intense and powerful.
October 2, 2014
Brutal, fascinating action film.
September 29, 2014
All I can say is Luis Tosar is such a bad ass here. The tension of this film builds up as the plot heats and gives more interesting moments.
½ April 12, 2014
It has it all: electrifying performances, clever script and exquisit direction.
March 15, 2014
This is so far removed from your typical prison drama it's almost an insult to categorize it as one! This is an Electrifying, incredibly clever, intense thriller! And like the inmates it's not above breaking the rules!
February 19, 2014
An artistic and commercial success, the film won eight Goya Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Luis Tosar) and Best Adapted Screenplay.
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