Juan Oliver (Ammann) wants to make an impression at his new place of work, so he comes to work a day early, where he is to start as a newly recruited guard of a state prison. As Juan is being toured inside the prison walls, things quickly stir out of control. A prison riot breaks out lead by hardened criminal Malamadre (Tosar), and Juan is left unconscious inside cell 211. When Juan comes to his senses, he realizes the situation he is in, and must quickly blend in with the inmates, pretending to be one himself in order to survive.

“Celda 211” is a Spanish prison drama directed by Daniel Monzon. The film stars Alberto Ammann and Luis Tosar as two men on opposite sides of a prison cell, one the law and the other an inmate, who are forced to work together in order to survive.

Both Ammann and Toser put in nice performances on screen. The overall acting in this is excellent. Brilliant portrayals from every cast member made the environment believable and the characters likable. Each major character was unique and would either stir up a scare or piss you off big time.

The production value of the film is great, and put to good use the fairly huge set which was the prison, and huge amount of cast members and extras involved in the film. The chaos is authentic and puts us right where the action is.

The opening scene is graphic heavy. The events that follow is as much a surprise to us as it is to our characters on screen when the riot suddenly breaks out. Director Daniel Monzon wastes no time in quickly building the tension and keeping us on the edge with the nerve wracking atmosphere his directing presents. Both inmates and officials are on a scatter. As Juan blends to stay alive inside the prison walls, the officials plot his rescue, and the events and conspiracies that transpire are what make every moment suspenseful.

The story telling is powerful and has quality in its content. The film tackles issues of loyalty, trust, and the fight for change. Probably one of the few prison tales that’s not cliche.

A very solid film.