101 Min. | Mystery – Thriller | December 2009
IMDB Rating: 6.9
Director: Stuart Hazeldine
Staring: Adar Beck, Gemma Chan, Nathalie Cox
Exam Review: It’s often the simplest concepts that can make for the best movies and with Exam everything boils down to one little piece of blank (?) paper. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Eight job applicants enter a room where they are told a few rules before they begin and then left to figure out the answer to the one and only question that matters. Doing so will land them the job. Of course, answering the question is only possible when they figure out what the question actually is. Written and directed by Stuart Hazeldine (from a story by Simon Garrity), Exam is a fantastic example of just how to achieve great results from a low budget paired up with an intriguing concept.
The cast, playing characters simply labelled according to certain attributes “dark”, “chinese”, “blonde”, etc, all do very well. Jimi Mistry is probably the most recognisable face on screen but Luke Mably is great, Nathalie Cox stands out and then there’s the presence of Colin Salmon, who may not be around for long but who certainly makes his presence felt throughout. Chukwudi Iwuji may be relatively unknown to many but he also manages to make quite an impression with his character. Oh, and Chris Carey stands and looks focused as the guard. While there are moments here and there when the economy of the Exam starts to encroach on your thoughts it’s surprising just how much tension and enjoyment can be wrung out of the material.
Up until then we get a fine mix of psychological mindgames, some nice wordplay and a fair bit of deceit being used to pare down the competition. To some people Exam will be an absolute bore. To others it will be an enjoyable psychological mystery – albeit more ‘who wins the job?’ than ‘whodunnit?’ Direction, screenplay and acting are all admirable. And, the Chinese girl “Gemma Chan” is mega yummy – what a stunning girl indeed! Overall, Exam is a excellent. Definitely worth a watch if you like to keep guessing.