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Cell 211

15 customer reviews

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(Aug 30, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Winner of 8 Goya Awards (Spain&39;s Oscars) including Best Film, Actor, Director and Screenwriter, this politically taut and fast-paced prison thriller is the most internationally acclaimed Spanish film of the past year. On his first day on the job, prison officer Juan Olivier (Alberto Ammann) is knocked unconscious in a freak accident and his co-workers carry him to an empty cell. When he awakens, Juan discovers that he has been abandoned in the middle of a riot in a high security cellblock home to the prison s most dangerous criminals. If they discover he's a guard, he s dead meat. To survive, Juan must pose as a prisoner and conspire with the riot's vicious leader, Malamadre (Luis Tosar, The Limits of Control). As the violence escalates and political fallout mounts, Juan uses all his cunning to stay alive.

Special Features Include:
-New transfer, enhanced for widescreen viewing
-Optional English and Spanish subtitles
-Making-of documentary (28 mins)
-Original theatrical trailer

A powerful prison melodrama, Daniel Monzón's Cell 211 was a real jailhouse riot at the 2010 Goya Awards, Spain's version of the Oscars: the picture took eight prizes, including Best Film, Director, and Actor (for Luis Tosar). This will not surprise fans of the movie, which rockets along with a brilliant opening premise and a muscular, violent approach to the genre. That premise puts a new prison guard, Juan (Alberto Ammann), on a tour of the facility the day before he actually begins his job. At that very moment, the prisoners stage a takeover, and Juan is caught inside--but hmm, they've never seen him before and don't know he's actually a guard. What if he tried to brazen it out and pretend to be a newbie prisoner himself? This dangerous masquerade creates automatic suspense, and the film has the refreshing virtue of having Juan act intelligently about his survival, instead of the usual backing-into-a-story-because-someone-does-something-stupid. The movie is truly powered by the instigator of the uprising, the fearsome Malamadre, played in a furious turn by Tosar (Mondays in the Sun, Miami Vice). The early plotting, and the cat-and-mouse stuff involving Juan and Malamadre, is strong enough to keep the movie going through a few questionable developments in the second half. The thing stirs up a hornet's nest--always a potent movie formula when contained within the walls of a prison. --Robert Horton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel Monzón
  • Directors: Daniel Monzon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: KimStim
  • DVD Release Date: August 30, 2011
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0051T46YG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,918 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joni Ruth on July 20, 2011
Format: DVD
If you've seen one prison movie, you've seen them all, right? Wrong! Go make your popcorn and listen because I'm trying to "do you a solid" here. What about the movies, "Escape from Alcatraz" or "The Great Escape," you might ask? I hear you, but set aside Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen for a moment, because once you've seen "Cell 211," you may just realize you've been "talking out of the side of your neck."

It is Juan Oliver's first day as a prison guard at a maximum, high-security facility. While the old guards show him around and joke about the inmates, a riot breaks out in another part of the prison. A guard is knocked down as an inmate grabs his keys. More and more angry inmates spill out of their cells. Fires are set as guards in riot gear try to contain the prisoners. But when Juan is hit on the head by falling debris and loses consciousness, the guards panic! With a band of angry inmates coming right at them, they drag their new comrade in a cell, slam the door and run.

Juan awakens in a dark cell to the smell of urine and sounds of chaos. Confused, his head throbbing, face down and grit in his teeth, Juan realizes his only hope of survival--either become an inmate and live or die a prison guard on his first day at work!

Juan soon comes face to face with Malamadre, the "baddest of the bad" who has the power to get whatever he wants. Surrounded by prisoners with fists in the air, Malamadre booms out his plan for a total takeover. Hoping to win Malamadre's trust and buy himself more time, Juan ventures to point out a hole in the plan. The room falls dead silent. Juan knows the prison layout, its security devices and the politics of negotiating, but will this knowledge help him? Or, is it just a matter of time before he is found out?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Chouza on July 16, 2010
Format: DVD
I really liked this movie,,, great prison thriller with believable characters and plot...

sadly it hasnt really gotten much press or attention (maybe due to the fact that it is spanish and wasnt promoted properly)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 12, 2012
Format: DVD
This great film from Spain (with French participation in Canal+ etc) is pretty basic in terms of plot. The main protagonist is one Juan Oliver (Alberto Ammann) - he is starting work as a prison guard in Zamora. He is keen to make a good impression so pops along in his civilian clothing a day early, just to see how things are done. He wants to make this career change work as he has a wife, Elena, who is six months pregnant.

On arrival he is shown around by his new work mates, they explain the facility is falling apart and as they do so, a piece of the ceiling collapses and hits Juan on the head, rendering him unconscious. They take him into the empty, but spooky, Cell 211. This happens to coincide with the signal for the riot to begin. Juan is out cold and his new colleagues decide to make a brave but strategic withdrawal, leaving him in the cell.

This is also no ordinary wing it is the Segregation Wing as we would call it (DSS in Spain). It houses the worst prisoners including lifers and those with full blown AIDS. It is run by a rather unsavoury character called Malamadre (Luis Tozan - who is very impressive). Juan comes around and realises that he is in the middle of a riot and quickly realise that his best bet to survive the carnage is to pretend to be a new inmate.

What unfolds in less than predictable, it is taught, well acted, brutal and gripping. The plot turns and twists are informed more by lack of professionalism on the part of the authorities than on the guile of Juan - but that plays a big part too. The inmates are all believable especially the Colombians and the ETA guys who are in a separate part of the wing, but the prisoners know all about it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By not a natural on January 18, 2012
Format: DVD
Cell 211 is a thriller and a prison move, and it's excellent in both respects. As with any first-rate thriller, Cell 211 will keep you perched nervously on the edge of your seat while a collection of frightening contingencies holds sway over the lives of the participants. As with any good prison movie, you'll find yourself uncertain, going back and forth about whom to cheer for. Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? And what is the source of this doubt and confusion? Am I a hopelessly misguided bleeding heart or what? Yes, a first-rate thriller and a first-rate prison move, but a good deal more.

Cell 211 is fundamentally a movie about the uncertainty that, usually unnoticed, pervades modern life, the risks that are not acknowledged until circumstances and happenstance force them upon us. We are typically oblivious, not even off-handedly acknowledging the things that could go wrong. If it were otherwise, we'd go mad because there are just too many unforeseeable horrors. If you're naturally lucky or exceptionally privileged, the force-feeding of unexpected and terrible outcomes can be minimized. After all, rich people don't become prison guards and rarely go to jail. But the risks, even for them, are never completely eliminated. That's just the way the world works. That's why risk assessment has become formally institutionalized in modern organizations.

Even those who are ostentatiously cynical and who complain about the bad hand they've been dealt or the corruption and incompetence that pervade our world are vulnerable to the nastiest surprises. Cynicism is no safeguard against being taken frighteningly unaware.
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