|*If you have not seen this film please be aware that this review contains slight spoilers*
Maze, shown on television recently, tells the story of one of the biggest prison breakouts in Europe when in 1983 thirty eight IRA prisoners breakout of a prison which the film takes it’s name from. This is a film which this particular reviewer wanted to like, the premise is interesting, the plot and the synopsis builds the film up as a tense, Hitchcock-esque exploration of two characters in particular. The plot focuses on Larry Marley, played as ably as ever by Love/Hate‘s Tom Vaughan-Lawlor and prison warden Gordon Close, played by Barry Ward, who previously appeared in RTE’s Rebellion, and BBC’s The Fall among others. As the narrative develops the two form some sort of bond, however it is obvious from the start that Larry Marley’s motives are synical; therein lies the obvious problem with the plot. Perhaps it is a case of too much knowledge being a dangerous thing and knowing the end before it comes.
The fundamental flaw in this film is that there is very little suspense, very little subtlety. Without putting too fine a point on it, if this film had been made by the master of suspense himself, the tension would have been wound up to a suffocating extent, you would have had a vague idea of what was to come, but because of the tension being ratcheted up to it’s height you would have been drawn in. The film fundamentally fails to do this, it does offer some sort of study of character analysis where *spoiler alert* in the end one character feels like he has been betrayed by the other.
The problem is that it’s all done matter-of-factly, you feel that you’re watching two mates down at the pub exchanging small talk. There is no feeling that these two characters are really forming a bond, only for the audience, as well as the characters, to be felt ultimately betrayed and disappointed. What’s even more frustrating is that it’s unclear as to why this is the case. The acting isn’t first class but it isn’t terrible either, it does the job. The performances were never going to win any Oscars, but neither were they going to have Raspberry awards thrust upon them in shame either.
On top of this, with the exception of the two main characters, most of the supporting characters are left redundant with very little to do other than make up the numbers when it comes to the climactic end.
When the end does come it is messy and rushed, perhaps in fairness a true reflection of the events that are unfolding. In the end what you get is a film that, although watchable enough, sorely disappoints in it’s failing to be the gripping and tense thriller that it could, and perhaps should ultimately have been.