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Cell 211

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Even in our enlightened age, there’s a lingering belief that Hollywood movies are the home of ludicrous contrivance and join-the-dots storytelling while their foreign counterparts are more interested in clever things like depth, subtext and character. Anyone still clinging to this fallacy should take a look at ‘Cell 211’, a would-be gritty Spanish prison drama which seems blissfully unaware that it’s got the daftest plot in recent memory.

It begins with an absurd random event – a chunk of ceiling plaster falls on newbie plainclothes prison guard Juan Oliver (Alberto Ammann), rendering him unconscious just as a riot kicks off – and only gets more ludicrous. The cons don’t know Juan, so they treat him as one of their own, allowing him to get close to hulking brute Malamadre (Luis Tosar) and report on the riot from inside.It’s a perfect high-concept setup (a Hollywood remake is already in the works) that director Daniel Monzón and his co-writers push to the groaning extremes of credibility. Yet its sheer pace and energy ensure that ‘Cell 211’ remains hugely entertaining. It helps that the performances carry a lot of weight: Tosar’s turn as the ultimate Bad Mother is chilling and the supporting cast of scarfaced, musclebound ne’er-do-wells do a nice line in scowling, snarling and shower-room shanking. Just be sure to up your internal disbelief setting from ‘suspended’ to ‘nonexistent’.
Written by Tom Huddleston

Release Details

  • Rated:18
  • Release date:Friday 15 July 2011
  • Duration:113 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Daniel Monzon
  • Cast:
    • Luis Tosar
    • Alberto Ammann
    • Antonio Resines
    • Manuel Morón
    • Marta Etura
    • Carlos Bardem
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