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Film Review: The Maze Runner

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★★★★☆

I know what you’re thinking: another week, another teen-dystopian/fantasy-adventure with franchise potential. But The Maze Runner, adapted from the novel by James Dasher, is much better than, say, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. It’s almost on a par with The Hunger Games (and that’s saying something).

Set in a small field and forest surrounded by an enormous maze, the plot follows a community of photogenic teenage boys as they try to work out how they can escape and get back to the previous lives they cannot remember. Each month, another boy is delivered to the forest glen without any memory of their previous existence.

In the lead we have Teen Wolf actor Dylan O’Brien as a boy who proves himself very good at running through and mapping the surrounding maze. Supporting actors include Brits Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Kaya Scodelario.

The film feels fresh, exciting and slickly directed. It’s incredible to think it is actually a feature debut, by filmmaker Wes Ball. The only thing that did seem a little strange was the entire absence of sex. Considering the plot involves a community populated entirely by teenage boys, full of raging hormones and living with just each other for years, you’d expect some sexual attachments to have been made. And when the only girl in their number turns up (Scodelario) none of them seem to remotely interested in becoming romantically or sexually involved with her. Maybe future instalments (a sequel is on the way) may explain this, but the chasteness of the whole thing did feel a little odd. Aside from this, this is a big, loud and confident debut and a great start to the series.

The Maze Runner (2014), directed by Wes Ball, is released in UK cinemas by Twentieth Century Fox, Certificate 15. Watch the trailer below:

 




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