Cell 211 (Celda 211)
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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 doctor to arrive, a riot breaks out, and Juan is left behind. When he wakes up, all is in chaos,… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"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."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"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?"
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"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."
‑ Brian Gibson, Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
"First-time director Monzón keeps the screws tightened in every sense, as well as avoiding conventional rhetoric and sentimentality."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"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."
‑ Henry Fitzherbert, Daily Express
"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."
‑ Bruce Demara, Toronto Star
"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."
‑ Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
"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."
‑ Liz Braun, Jam! Movies
"There's a riot going on in a Spanish maximum security prison, whose Darwinian savagery is right up there with A Prophet."
‑ Anthony Quinn, Independent
"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?"
‑ Charlotte O'Sullivan, This is London
"Just be sure to up your internal disbelief setting from 'suspended' to 'nonexistent'."
‑ Tom Huddleston, Time Out
"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)."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Monzón demonstrates a remarkable capacity for blending high concepts with high-minded ideas in a direct, no-nonsense way."
‑ Alistair Harkness, Scotsman
"Cell 211 is a brutal piece of filmmaking ... but the shock and gore is warranted ..."
‑ David Edwards, Daily Mirror [UK]
"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."
‑ Christopher Tookey, Daily Mail [UK]
More reviews for Cell 211 (Celda 211) on Rotten Tomatoes