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Movie Review Cell 211

Updated on March 13, 2013

Movie Review Cell 211

Cell 211(Celda 211) released in 2009, is a Spanish made film with English subtitles. The movie is superbly directed by Daniel Monzon. Cell 211 was written by Jorge Guerricaechevarria, Daniel Monzon and Francisco Perez Gandul.

The opening scene displays a prisoner slashing his wrists inside Cell 211. The main movie action takes place within a maximum security prison in Spain. There is a prison rebellion and riot. Newly hired security guard, Juan Oliver, played by Alberto Ammann is locked inside Cell 211. Juan Oliver convinces the other prisoners that he also is a convict. The leader of the prison rebellion Malamadre, portrayed by Luis Tosar, accepts Juan Oliver as an inmate and guides him through the rebellion.

There are subplots in the film. The organization ETA, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom) prisoners are separated from other inmates. They are given favorable treatment inside the walls for political reasons. The other prisoners take three ETA members hostage during the riot. Malamadre and the other rioters demand better prison conditions including the abolishment of solitary confinement and DSS (Data Set Specification). DSS has to do with data collection and health care. The prisoners receive poor health care and their maladies are often misdiagnosed.

The film depicts the cruelty of the prison guards. Television covers a riot outside the prison walls. A guard, Utrilla played by Antonio Resines, beats and clubs family members of the prisoners. Utrilla viciously slugs Elena, the pregnant wife of Juan Oliver. Actress Marta Etura is Elena. The inmates, including Juan Oliver, react violently to the horrific treatment of innocent relatives.

The movie displays deceit and subterfuge by both sides of the conflict. Neither the government nor the prisoners are trustworthy. When negotiations break down the federal SWAT team invades the prison.

The prisoner inhabitants of cell 211 write their thoughts and feelings on the ceiling and walls of the cell. These words give an account of the emotional, psychic stress and pain these inmates suffer daily.

Cell 211 is a powerful film brilliantly written, directed and acted. This is a must see movie for the film aficionado.

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