Director: Stuart Hazeldine
Starring: Colin Salmon, Jimmy Mistry, Luke Malbly, Gemma Chan
Born and Bred in the UK, 2010’s British thriller Exam directed by newcomer Stuart Hazeldine, is a mind trip which needs audiences full attention from the very beginning.
Featuring a low profile cast, including Colin Salmon, (Resident Evil, Alien vs. Predator) Jimmy Mistry, (The Guru, East is East) Luke Mably, (28 Days Later, Uprising) and Gemma Chan, fresh from the media world, Exam offers audiences a simple, yet mind twisting format which keeps you guessing from the opening sequence, to long after the credits have rolled. Placed in a single four walled room for the duration of the 101 minutes, and featuring only ten cast members within the entire film, for eight candidates, the hard work endured to get this far looks set to finally pay off, once sitting their final “exam”.
Having all applied for the same job in a top mysterious and powerful corporation, the eight candidates have one final task ahead of them, before it is decided who will grab the opportunity to work for a highly ranked business, and fulfil their “dream job”. When the candidates are seated, and the rules of the conditions have been laid out, (listen to these very carefully) the 80 minute timer begins, in which time they must answer the one question that is before them. After discovering the exam paper in front of them is blank, and the typical exam style format is not what the company is looking for, it is up to the eight candidates to see how far they can push themselves to answer the question needed to land themselves at the number one spot.
Although confusing at times, Exam is a thriller which does not need the typical blood splattered scenes, or contraption of settings to make the film work. Set in only one place, the film allows you to work along with the key characters, helping them to try to discover what is needed of them. With an equal balance of males and females, as well as each individual representing a certain culture , religion or characteristic, Exam is by far one of the better films the UK has produced, considering the lack of media attention and critical response the film has gained in recent months.
Available now on DVD, Exam is a film that really does have to be watched to discover the outcome of this unusual concept, although you may have to watch it a few times, or do your own research to really understand what this was really all about.