The Maze Runner

Film Review by Stephen Carty | 10 Oct 2014
Film title: The Maze Runner
Director: Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Aml Ameen
Release date: 10 Oct
Certificate: 12A

The Maze Runner boasts an intriguing, Twilight Zone-style premise. In the opening sequence, a young man (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up in a moving freight lift with no idea of who he is or how he got there. Once it reaches the top, he finds himself in a grassy clearing. Greeted by a gathering of young men who've been trapped there for three years, he discovers he's in an impossibly giant maze and the only way to escape is to find a safe path through.

From this setup emerges an engaging slice of young adult sci-fi. The narrative beats are familiar, but the first two acts are driven by mystery – who built this place? who are these kids? – and the maze itself is impressively realised. The set pieces alternate between breathless and serviceable, while credit should be given to the young cast (including Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Will Poulter), given that each character is a memory-less cipher. Frustratingly, though, the sequel-teasing payoff is largely unsatisfying.