is a 2009 Spanish film directed by Daniel Monzon. The protagonist, Juan Oliver (Juan Diego Botto
), is a young man Happily Married
to the beautiful Elena (Marta Etura), who is 6-months pregnant with their first child, and this is the first day in his new job. All well and right, if that job wasn't as a prison guard and there was a riot in the High Security zone led by the scary convict Malamadre (Luis Tosar) that very same day. Now alone and trapped inside Cell 211
, Juan must disguise himself and pretend to be another inmate in order to guarantee his own safety, all while trying to draw a plan to get him out of there.
The problem is that he does it so well
, however, that soon he becomes something of a second in command to Malamadre. And everything gets worse from there. Very, very, very
Though taking place in a prison, the movie does not follow most of the tropes associated with the prison genre. It won 22 awards, including the Goya award for Best Spanish Film.
This film provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Malamadre.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Carlos Bardem (brother to most famous Javier) seems to be aiming for a "generic Latin American" accent more than for a Colombian one.
- The Alcatraz: The GEO team barricades the prison, preventing anyone from escaping.
- Badass Baritone: Malamadre which is also quite Bad Ass in general.
- Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Oh, boy.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Very, very debatably, this is what happens if you consider Malamadre to be the Bad Guy, since he survives his assassination attempt, makes the riot spread to other prisons, gets the Government to make a public declaration accepting the rioters demands and still manages to (though it's unclear) kill the ETA terrorists as he planned from the beginning. If you consider the prison staff / Government to be the Bad Guy, however, then it's an epic fail on their part.
- Bald of Evil / Bald of Awesome: Malamadre, depending of your pick.
- Becoming the Mask: Juan pretends to be an unrepent convict of murder ("I killed him and I would do it again") and becomes so when he kills Urrutia.
- Black and Gray Morality / Grey and Gray Morality: The convicts are not the worst people. Not at by a long shot.
- Break the Cutie: Juan and later, Elena. To the very worst.
- Bungled Suicide
- The Cartel: Apache and the other Colombians belonged to one.
- Despair Event Horizon: Juan, when he learns that Elena is dead.
- Dirty Coward: Urrutia.
- Downer Ending: Juan, his wife and their unborn child die.
- Driven to Suicide: The spark of the revolt is the suicide of the previous occupier of Cell 211, "El Morao", who killed himself after the prison refused to treat him of a brain tumor. Juan is driven later as well, but fails to hang himself with a belt.
- Fake Nationality: Spanish Carlos Bardem as a Colombian prisoner.
- Fallen Hero
- Flash Back: The scenes involving Juan and Elena.
- Flash Forward: The scenes dealing with the later investigation about the mutiny events.
- The Film of the Book: Based on a novel written by Francisco Pérez Gandul.
- Improvised Weapon: The prisoners manage to built knives and even guns out of water pipes.
- Ironic Echo: "You do what you can."
- Kick the Dog: "Putavieja" has three. First he tortures an inmate in another alley to know how the riot started. Then he kills Juan's pregnant wife. And then he reveals Juan's identity to the other prisoners in order to save his sorry ass, but it doesn't work.
- Knight Templar: Utrilla.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Luis Tosar may look scary, but is actually a really nice person, and a singer to boot.
- Noble Demon: Played to the extreme by Malamadre, a murderer in a high security cell, who ends being the most caring character.
- No Name Given: Excluding the ETA members, every convict is either unnamed or known by a nickname like Malamadre ("Badmother"), Apache or El Morao ("The Purple One").
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Alberto Amman's sounds properly Spaniard but his native Argentinian accent comes out in a couple of occassions when his character is specially distressed. This is justified because the character is from Argentina (as briefly seen in a dossier) but lives in Spain and eventually adquired the Spanish nationality -required to be a civil servant- so his actual speech could have evolved with the years.
- Out, Damned Spot!: Juan after he cuts the terrorist's ear.
- Rabid Cop: Urrutia.
- Playing Against Type: If you are Spanish (or Finnish) you'll be amused to see the Bumbling Dad from Los Serrano as the most depraved character in the film.
- Playing Both Sides: Juan and Apache, though obviously for different reasons.
- Slashed Throat: Utrilla
- The Dragon: Tachuela, for Malamadre. Later, Juan acquires this status too.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized.
- The Stool Pigeon: Apache. Also The Mole.
- The Unfettered
- Tragic Mistake: Juan wasn't even supposed to be there. He joined a day earlier, just to make a better impresion.
- Villain Protagonist: By the end of the film.
- Western Terrorists: Three ETA members are taken hostage by the other prisoners.
- White Shirt of Death: After Juan kills Utrilla.
- Worthy Opponent Malamadre shares moments of genuine comradeship and ends up giving a lot of credit to Juan when he discovers the ruse