MAZE achieves largest opening weekend for an Irish film in 2017
Stephen Burke’s critically acclaimed MAZE has achieved the biggest opening weekend of any Irish film in Ireland and Northern Ireland since Room in January 2016. The film opened without previews to over €141k (£124k) after its release, Friday 22 September, on 65 screens (between ROI and NI). It is currently number 3 on the Irish box office chart.
MAZE received its World Premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh in July, followed by a screening at the Belfast Film Festival in September, as well as featuring as the cinema highlight of Cork’s Culture Night film programme on the opening night, Friday 22nd September.
Based on the true story of the 1983 mass break-out of 38 IRA prisoners from HMP Maze high-security prison in Northern Ireland. As Larry Marley (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), the chief architect of the escape, schemes his way towards pulling off this feat, he comes into contact with prison warder, Gordon Close (Barry Ward). Initially Larry and Gordon are confirmed enemies, born on opposite sides of Northern Ireland’s political divide, but when Larry realises that Gordon may be unwittingly useful for his escape plan, a slow seduction begins. Larry intends to use and manipulate Gordon in order to get closer to his goal but what follows is a tense, and intriguing drama in which an unlikely relationship is forged between two enemies that will have far reaching consequences for both of them.
Produced by Jane Doolan and Brendan J Byrne, MAZE is distributed by Lionsgate UK, and was financed by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, RTÉ, BAI, Film Vast, Windmill Lane, Cork regional funding and Irish tax incentives for the film industry.
“Gritty … Maze gets the tone right.” Screen International
“4 **** … Closer to the great escape than we could have expected … Exciting, well-made …. The tension is well sustained … Tom Vaughan-Lawlor combines raw commitment with a sneaky flexibility to give us an honest man who lies like a master.” The Irish Times
“4**** … thrilling.” Sunday Independent
“4**** … Gritty, taut and compelling … You will be riveted in your seat in what is a refreshingly authentic film, which has not one false note. Recommended.” RTE Entertainment
“4**** … a powerful acted drama that deserves to find a wide audience..” RTE Guide
“4**** … Tom Vaughan-Lawlor is superb as the hard-boiled but emotionally fragile Marley, and he gets excellent support from Barry Ward.” The Irish Examiner
“4**** Vaughan-Lawlor gives a terrific performance as Marley … powerful … Well worth watching.” Evening Echo
“4**** … Captivating … The ever-brilliant Tom Vaughan-Lawlor … brings Larry Marley compellingly to life … Cerebral and illuminating, it reminds us … how far we have come.” Daily Mail
“4**** … A solid, well told drama thriller.” Sunday World