Belfast Telegraph

Maze prison escape film available on Netflix

Stephen Burke's film depicting the real life escape from the Maze prison in the 1980s is now available to stream on Netflix.

The feature film, which was released in cinemas last year, is based the true story of the 1983 mass break-out of 38 IRA prisoners from HMP Maze high-security prison near Lisburn.

It stars Irish actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Larry Marley, the chief architect of the escape, who schemes his way towards pulling off this feat, but comes into contact with prison warder Gordon Close, played by Barry Ward. 

The film received critical acclaim after its first festival outing at the Galway Film Fleadh in July 2017. It received its Northern Ireland premiere in Belfast in September.

Vaughan-Lawlor met many of the escapees while researching the part and said the "dance" between the characters helped show talking was the best way forward.

Speaking when the film was released, he said: "I don't mean that in a flippant way, I just mean people being in rooms, talking face to face, and reading each other's sensibilities and flaws and weaknesses and fears and listening, and that is the journey of this film.

"That it charts that journey of two men who are brought together and realise that dialogue reflects back on you your own shortcomings and your own strengths and how that can hopefully bring about the resolution of conflict."

In real life, one prison officer was killed and another seriously injured during the episode.

Vaughan-Lawlor said it was not a sentimentalised or dewy-eyed account.

"There is detail and complexity and rigour and frustration and it is always an ongoing dialogue."

He said it was not a piece of propaganda.

"The heart of the film for me is this relationship and if that was not there and it was just a straight story about a prison escape I would not have had any interest in doing it, because it would have been a very slight, insensitive, boring film."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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