When Juan, a prison guard trainee, is trapped in the middle of a full-scale riot orchestrated by the penitentiary’s worst convicts he manages to avoid becoming another hostage by posing as a fellow inmate and ingratiating himself with the mastermind behind the uprising, the decidedly unbalanced lifer Malamadre. With his pregnant wife pounding at the prison gates, a government unwilling to negotiate in good faith and a couple of surly Columbians questioning his veracity Juan must rely upon his own resourcefulness if he is to survive. To his credit director Daniel Monzón manages to throw a few curve balls our way, shedding some light on the crooked politics behind hostage negotiations while avoiding a pat Hollywood ending (his ending is absurd enough as it is). He also manages to elicit some star performances from his main leads although the gravelly voiced uni-browed Malamadre would look more at home in a prison manga. But, as I feared, it ends up being little more than a testosterone-soaked orgy of macho posturing and male bonding as the maltreated noble savages square off against the unsympathetic powers-that-be. Can an American remake be far behind?
This is an excellent movie. Well written, great acting and a good story.
More than just a prison riot movie. Directed by the great Daniel Monzon with my favorite European actors Luis Tosar and Carlos Bardem .
This film explores the dark side of society between those who own it and control it and the powerless, and the struggles that come about as a result. It shows us how western society gets rid of the unwanted and throws them behind bars without encouraging any positive change in their attitudes, behavior or personalities. And how these men are locked up without any hope or future aspirations in an intolerable violent world. Their only education to become a criminal to greater extent.
How these unwanted, miserable, less than human, loveless characters are confined in a living hell. When they rebel against prison authorities, or attack each other, as a result of their painful situation, this is what gets to be call a prison riot. A great similarity to the prison system in the United States which does nothing to redeem these individuals or prepare them for life outside of prison walls.
Watchable. Some parts of the plot do not make sense.
Gripping prison drama with a taut script and very good acting.
Not for me... the things I disliked about this were quite similar to my panning points of "The Pusher" Trilogy; so if Cell 211 was enjoyable to you check out another foreign film entry: Nicolas Winding Refn's Pusher Trilogy.
My first foreign movie! And it was grrrreeattt. Really interesting and I found myself invested in the characters. The emotions displayed by the various characters and actions feel real. The ending was a little sad but I doubt there is a better happier ending so I suppose it fits.
A must see prison movie. Luis is at his best role in his career.
You don't need an Almodovar to make a great Spanish movie. Film Director Daniel Monzon and actors Luis Tosar and Alberto Ammann did a celluloid menage a trois worthy of the awards it won in the Spanish Oscars.
Very good prison riot movie. Still based on good-vs-evil but I found myself invested in the main characters.
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