Cell 211 (Celda 211) (2009)
Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 35
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 1
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 4,905
A lawman must side with a gang of criminals if he's to save his own life in this action drama from Spanish director Daniel Monzon. Juan Oliver (Alberto Ammann) has accepted a job as a prison guard, and the day before he begins work he leaves his pregnant wife Elena (Marta Etura) at home and goes to the penitentiary for an orientation session. During a tour of the facilities, Juan is struck on the head in a freak accident; he passes out and is carried to a nearby cell. As the jailers wait for a
Nov 6, 2009 Wide
Aug 29, 2011
Watch It Now
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.
From Spanish director Daniel Monzon, this is a white-hot prison drama with a Byzantine plot and enough gore to make Reservoir Dogs look like a petting zoo.
It's a cut above the usual penal picture, intelligent with sharply drawn, memorable characters, a storyline suffused with tension and unexpected turns, and a morass of moral quandaries that could lead the most innocent into irretrievable darkness.
Just be sure to up your internal disbelief setting from 'suspended' to 'nonexistent'.
Celda 211 (Cell 211) requires you to look past a couple of contrivances in order to enjoy its main scenario: How quickly can the ruinous nature of prison life corrupt an innocent, moral man?
Nearly every minute throbs with heart-pounding suspense, from the opening scene of a prisoner slashing his wrists with a razor blade fashioned from a cigarette filter to its mournful, blood-soaked conclusion.
What this movie lacks in plausibility (which is almost everything), it makes up for with authentic adrenaline -- and Spanish Goya Awards (it won eight this year).
By the last half-hour, the story's seething skepticism towards the surveillance-state and its portrait of a naïve guard turned murderous prisoner make for a mesmerizing movie.
Cell 211 is both gritty and gripping, and if the second half is not quite as electrifying as the first, much is forgiven because the story is so clever.
Monzón demonstrates a remarkable capacity for blending high concepts with high-minded ideas in a direct, no-nonsense way.
First-time director Monzón keeps the screws tightened in every sense, as well as avoiding conventional rhetoric and sentimentality.
There's a riot going on in a Spanish maximum security prison, whose Darwinian savagery is right up there with A Prophet.
Cell 211 is a brutal piece of filmmaking ... but the shock and gore is warranted ...
Director Daniel Monzon's picture - very well acted by the leads - manages to combine extremely clever, unpredictable plotting with plausible but unexpected character development, elevating standard genre fare to something much more substantial.
It's a neat, topical set-up and, initially at least, Cell 211 possesses the sweaty, coiled intensity of Un Prophète. Alas, the second half is hokum. Que paso?
The film-makers wisely resist the temptation to make Juan a classically upright Hollywood hero. In taking a more pessimistic direction, the film comes across as infinitely more realistic.
There is something melodramatic and soapy about Cell 211 occasionally, but it really is exciting
Monzón's film remains a bracing draft for a great thriller, not the finished article.
The twisty plot soon gets knotted, but in the process shows a deeply broken system born of violence and corruption.
On the surface this is a relatively familiar prison thriller, yet when executed with panache of such disarming brutality and tension, it finds room to distinguish itself in an overcrowded genre.
The film is shot in a documentary-style that's enhanced by using actual convicts as extras.
Any dips into melodrama are levelled out by its unpredictability, sympathies shifting multiple times in a kaleidoscope of greys that refuses to settle into blacks and whites.
In a genre where the expectation of violence is so high, rare is the film that manages to shock and startle with such regularity.
Audience Reviews for Cell 211 (Celda 211)
- Malamadre: Sometimes life fucks you up and you don't even realize.
Discuss Cell 211 (Celda 211) on our Movie forum!