Cell 211 [Blu-Ray] Daniel Monzón

Cell 211 [Blu-Ray] Daniel Monzón
Similar to John Curran's far more contemplative and thought provoking psychological drama, Stone, Cell 211 analyzes the divide between criminal and law enforcer, noting that social context and circumstance are huge signifiers, as is the nature of being categorized by class systems and resultant expectations. The distinction is that Cell 211 is the more visceral of the two, making the didactics extremely literal by placing nascent prison guard Juan Oliver (Alberto Ammann) in the middle of a prison riot – after a series of convenient and unlikely circumstances – posing as a prisoner, lest he find himself at the receiving end of a shiv, or penis, given the excess homoerotic subtext present throughout. After the prisoners strip him naked and gab about the size of his cock for a few minutes, they accept him into their fold, making him an ersatz leader of sorts, given his brilliant tactics (controlling camera views for prison guards, negotiating), which wins him the gravelly, borderline drag performance affections of resident tough guy Malmadre (Luis Tosar). Cue stoic conversations about life interspersed with life threatening situations that create a bond. On the periphery is a highly contrived storyline about Juan's pregnant wife, who winds up on the bad end of a beating after disobeying orders from her master… er, husband. The graying of lines between prisoner and guard is what makes this Award-winning Spanish drama more than a laughable bout of male posturing. The build-up of character frustrations and plausible motivations makes the dramatic outcome entirely plausible, ignoring the many laughable plot conveniences, which, in turn, inspires the intended thought and reflection. It's also extremely bloody and violent, giving the core demographic and bit of nastiness to appease their crude id impulses. Unfortunately, nothing comes with the Blu-Ray, which isn't a surprise given that this is a long-delayed, and mostly forgotten, release on North American shores. (eOne)