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The Globe and Mail

Cell 21: A prison-riot drama full of twists

Luis Tosar in a scene from "Cell 211"

Courtesy eOne Films

3 out of 4 stars


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.

An aspiring guard, Juan takes a tour of a maximum-security penitentiary, only to get inadvertently caught up in a full-scale riot.

Nothing if not a quick thinker, he passes himself off as new inmate, then bonds with the riot's ringleader – the bullet-head with the goatee.

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That's when the plot does what the convicts cannot: It breaks out with abandon, a twisting and turning affair that blurs every moral line until you can't tell the good guys from the bad.

Some of the twists defy belief but all of them exude intensity – this is compelling even when it's incredible.

Cell 211

  • Directed by Daniel Monzon
  • Classification: 18A

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