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cell 211 has a powerful intense energy surging through the course of the movie, and much like our protagonist (or deuteragonist if you want to argue so) the audiences hardly have time to think but got swept up in these chain of unrelenting events that gets grimmer as time passed.
the most praiseworthy thing for this film is perhaps the strong performance from luis tosar. the character he portrayed, malamadre seems very dangerous and unforgiving and as the film goes on, still brutish as before he forged a connection with juan with a teetering edge, juan lies and pretend himself as their fellow inmates. the frightening presence that luis tosar imposes on the screen has carried so much tension to the story. malamadre is a big, brash and brutal man with a big heart and without convincing performance (the eyebrows definitely adds to it) the character can almost seem comical.
the story starts out identical as the story of good versus evil, the mild-manner and resourceful juan against the trigger happy mobs with a prison riot setting, only in the middle unexpected angle starts factored into this riot, both from within and from outside. cell 211 hardly falls into expected territory from that on and with so many established points these can really go south easily.
the beginning scene seems almost unrelated to the film but it does highlight the injustice among prison social system and violence inflicted against them or by them. it is a common theme portrayed in most prison drama but that brutal opening really exemplifies it brilliantly.
the story of cell 211 is a story of group of people, downtrodden but brutish, united together to oppose the injustice and to end their dehumanising condition, to gain a better status quo within prison. the involvement of juan in this whole affair with the ending (“any more questions?” yet never answer them) is a great solid thriller that one must not miss.
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