It’s been out on DVD since Jan – but it’s well worth a look. Review follows…
On its limited release back in July of last year, Daniel Monzon’s Cell 211, a gritty, disturbing look at the Spanish penal system, may have passed many potential audience members by. This would have been a great shame, because it is a taut, effective and grimly compelling prison drama.
Based around a wonderfully inventive concept – an inexperienced guard trapped in a riot has to pretend to be a convict to avoid being killed. It is a beautifully simple idea – and one that has enough twists and turns in it to keep every kind of audience on its toes.
Central to the drama is the relationship between the guard Juan (Alberto Ammann) and the leader of the riotous prison mob, Malamadre – literally ‘bad mother’ in English (Luis Toser). Juan must win his trust if he is going to survive, and the two performances are intense, believable, and even strangely likeable.
The action, when it hits is brutal, uncompromising and bleak. No doubt some will find some of it a bit too much but for fans of realistic prison dramas this is a sure fire winner.
Extras include an interview with the director and a making of documentary.
Featuring interviews with genre stars such as Maxi Priest, UB40 and, um, musician turned sauce vendor Levi Roots, this is a slick and enjoyable film centering on an often overlooked reggae style that has enduring popularity – amazingly there is a lover’s rock scene in Japan. The only duff note in the doc is provided by some fairly poor comedy sketches used to stitch interviews and concert footage together. Worth a look then, particularly if your only knowledge of Lover’s Rock comes from the Clash song of the same name…
This review appears in the March issue of Clash Magazine.
Based on a well worth seeking out 1973 TV movie of the same name, this is a well crafted and stylish horror movie with enough jumps to keep genre fans happy. Written by supernatural connoisseur Gullermo Del Toro, there are the twists, turns and melancholy one would expect from the master of emotional horror. Capable directing from Troy Nixey keep it on course and effective performances from the three leads bring a spectral, dreamy atmosphere to life. Better than the naysayers would have you believe…
This review appears in the March issue of Clash Magazine