If you’re looking for something different, then you’ve most definitely come to the right place. It’s a rarity to discover an original premise these days, but Bill Watterson’s directorial debut is exactly that; a film that ticks all of the odd and off-beat boxes in a very clever, hugely imaginative way, but unlike a lot of independent cinema desperate for instant cult status, doesn’t feel the need to try too hard. As such, it’s a superb movie.
Dave (Nick Thune) is an ordinary guy and artist, crippled with a creative block. Home alone with his girlfriend Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) away for the weekend, he starts to construct a cardboard maze in his living room, purely to combat boredom and maybe get his mind working again. When Annie gets home she’s not happy to see cardboard tunnels everywhere, and even more so when she can hear but not see Dave, who cannot find his way out of the maze…
On the surface Dave Made a Maze is an homage to 80s kids-on-a-mission movies, with dumb jokes and likeable characters. Look a little deeper, and Watterson is offering commentary on isolation, depression, and the need for relationships. It transpires that Dave has never really finished any project he’s started, and as such the completion and survival of the maze may be the only chance for his and his friends’ survival, as well as his future with Annie. The film moves quickly and is very, very funny, with sharp cracks at modern culture, sex, and the slacker generation. There’s puppetry, stop-motion animation and some of the best camera manipulation you’ll find, along with an attack by origami birds, some gore (if gory is red string and confetti) and a roaming Minotaur. It’s the kind of film you might have expected from Spike Jonze or Michael Gondry a decade ago. Hard to categorise, Dave Made a Maze really needs to be seen to be believed, which in itself makes it essential.
Meera Rohit Kumbhani
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL
28 Jan 2019