This brutal Spanish prison drama was made in 2009 but only hit UK cinema screens this week.
It tells the story of Juan (Alberto Ammann), who while taking a tour of the prison prior to starting his job as a guard gets caught up in a riot. He manages to convince the inmates that he is a new arrival and is accepted by the leader of the group, Malamadre (Luis Tosar). Hearing of the riot Juan's pregnant wife Elena heads to the prison to find out just what is going on.
This is a ferocious film, the violence starts within the first five minutes and the pace rarely lets up. There are excellent scenes of high tension too as Juan's true identity could be exposed. As the riot escalates events take various twists and turns which make you question who the real villains are.
Luis Tosar (featured in the poster) delivers a stunning performance as the menacing Malamadre who often shows that he knows right from wrong while always living up to his fearsome reputation.
The film won many awards in Spain's 20009 Goya Awards (Spanish Oscars) including Best Actor for Tosar and Best Breakthrough Actor for Ammann as the conflicted Juan.
This is an explosive and edgy film full of fine performances and it has already been lined up for a Hollywood remake.
If you only see one subtitled film this year, make it this one.
Ric's Rating: 93%