Belfast Telegraph

Key lesson from Maze escape movie is that conflict is best solved by talking, says its star

By Michael McHugh

A movie about the IRA's mass breakout from the Maze Prison shows dialogue is the best way to resolve conflict, the lead actor has claimed.

Love/Hate star Tom Vaughan-Lawlor plays the prisoner who in 1983 organised the biggest jailbreak in UK history, during which 38 inmates fled the compound. One prison officer died and another was injured.

Maze focuses on the relationship between the prisoner and a warder played by Barry Ward.

Vaughan-Lawlor, who met many of the escapees while researching the role, said the "dance" between the characters proved to him that dialogue was the best way forward.

"I don't mean that in a flippant way, I just mean people being in rooms, talking face-to-face and listening... that is the journey of this film," he explained.

"It charts that journey of two men who are brought together and who realise that dialogue reflects back your own shortcomings and your own strengths."

In the movie, which had its Northern Ireland premiere in Belfast last night, a warder is befriended by an inmate who is trying to better understand prison procedures and identify weaknesses that could allow an escape, but who also wants a better future for his family.

The warder is rendered a virtual prisoner at home after a failed attack on him while he is out with his family leaves him needing enhanced security.

Vaughan-Lawlor denied the film was a piece of propaganda."The heart of it for me is this relationship (between the characters," he said. "If that was not there and it was just a story about a prison escape, I would not have had any interest in doing it because it would have been an insensitive, boring film.

"It was about understanding that dialogue is fundamentally the best way forward and that until people sit down and speak to each other and see the humanity in each other (nothing will be resolved).

"What is clever about this film is that it has a universality in that conflicts everywhere in the world have similarities. The potential to resolve (them) comes down to people having a cup of tea and conversing."

Belfast Telegraph

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