Don't come expecting action fireworks from this story based on the 1983 escape from a Northern Ireland prison

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In 1983, 38 prisoners broke out of an Northern Ireland prison, the biggest jailbreak in U.K. history. 

"Maze" is the sober, somber account of the escape, much less a rally behind the breakout than an exploration of the prison mind state and what it really means to be free. 

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor is Larry Marley, an IRA prisoner who was among those who participated in a prison hunger strike that left 10 of his fellow inmates dead. 

He devises a plan to break free from the prison — a seemingly impregnable labyrinth known as the HM Prison Maze — but knows that it's going to require more than a crawl space and some rock tools. It's going to require trust. 

That trust will come from a prison warder, and Marley singles out Gordon Close (Barry Ward), whom he slowly buddies up to while taking on cleaning duties in the prison. Marley and Close are on opposite sides of the law, but they find commonalities, and learn they're both held captive by the prison, albeit in different ways. 

Writer-director Stephen Burke plays "Maze" as the story of two men, each serving a different master, but begrudgingly finding respect for one another. Marley is working Close, which Close comes to take as a personal betrayal. There's a prison break going on, yes, but that takes a backseat to the story of the layered relationship between inmate and guard. 

"Maze" is headier than your average prison break saga; don't come expecting Jerry Bruckheimer-style theatrics. There's a political war going on, and Marley sees the prison escape as a statement of right and wrong. He is playing the long con, and so is "Maze."

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

'Maze'

GRADE: B

Not rated: Violence, language

Running time: 92 minutes

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