A Charming Yet Forgettable Comedy Romp
Despite its creative, cardboard inspired sets and off the wall plot line, Dave Made A Maze lacks any sort of dramatic tension needed to make it a memorable film. Its certainly an endearing watch, with some impressive camera effects and an ingenious use of cardboard and paper that dominate the majority of the sets. The cast help too, with great comedic timing and a decent amount of chemistry together but the film lacks the finesse needed with its plot that leaves far too many questions unanswered.
The story begins with Dave (Nick Thune) who’s built a massive cardboard structure (seemingly with Time Lord technology since its bigger on the inside) and finds himself stranded somewhere inside the massive labyrinth. Ignoring Dave’s pleas not to enter the maze as it isn’t finished, a plethora of Dave’s friends including his reluctant girlfriend Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) decide to head inside the maze and find him. The incredulous plot actually works surprisingly well early on, as we explore the different areas of the maze and it lends itself to some pretty ingenious uses of cardboard and visual design.
The establishing shots of the different areas of the maze and the numerous camera effects are incredibly well realized. With browns dominating the colour palette, there’s a good use of lighting throughout to break up the monotony of colour and the added inclusion of wisps of smoke, fairy lights and numerous props used in artistic ways help to make Dave Made A Maze visually stunning, unlike anything else out there. Whilst the plot is a little rough around the edges and lacks the finesse needed to really make it an endearing watch, there’s no denying the visual and artistic beauty the film boasts.
Lacklustre story aside, the characters combine for an enjoyable watch as they trade clever bits of humour together. While the script during some of the more dramatic moments isn’t quite up to scratch, the film’s comedy works as the sellotape to the cardboard structure – keeping it in place to stop the film falling apart. The jokes used throughout are well timed and rarely recycled, making for a particularly original watch. There’s hints of Edgar Wright’s Shaun Of The Dead; the misfit bunch of people who team up to complete a common goal is echoed here. While it doesn’t touch Wright’s comedic timing or masterful visuals in his scripts, Dave Made A Maze is still a funny film and some of the comedy here is really well executed.
The trouble with Dave Made A Maze is it does require a degree of suspension of belief and to switch off and not think too much about the plot. Whilst this sounds like it devalues the film, it actually makes for a more enjoyable watch when you stop asking questions around how the maze came to be, why its bigger on the inside and what exactly sparked it to become so massive and out of control to begin with. If you go in with an open mind and don’t mind ignoring a lot of the burning questions that are left unanswered, you’re sure to find a charming Indie film rife with enthusiasm and a great visual flair. Dave Made A Maze lacks the finesse to make it a great film though and when you’re not watching in awe at the artistry on display, you’re left with an experience that’s good, but ultimately forgettable in the long run.
Verdict - 6.5/10