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Exam (2009)


Director: Stuart Hazeldine

Writer: Stuart Hazeldine (Screenplay) Stuart Hazeldine, Simon Garrity (Story)

Starring: Adar Beck, Gemma Chan, Nathalie Cox, John Lloyd Fillingham, Chukwudi Iwuji, Pollyanna McIntosh, Luke Mably, Jimi Mistry, Colin Salmon, Chris Carey


Plot: The final eight candidates for a highly desirable corporate job are locked together in an exam room and given a test with one question. It seems simple yet confusing that soon, tensions begin to unravel.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Would You Pass It?


Story: Exam starts when our 8 candidates known only by look Dark (Beck), Chinese (Chan), Blonde (Cox), Deaf (Fillingham), Black (Iwuji), Brunette (McIntosh), White (Mably) and Brown (Misty) enter the room where the Invigilator (Salmon) gives them the instructions. The instructions are as followed 80 minutes to answer the question, you can’t communicate with him or the guard or make a mistake on your paper. The only problem is the paper is empty and the remaining 7 have to figure out what the question is in the first place.

As the time continues to tick down the candidates start to learn more about the people in the room with them and the people they are learning to work for, we also learn that there is a pandemic going on in the outside world which is causing the secret nature of the exam.

Exam is a very simple concept for a film, it follows 8 people in a room looking to get the ultimate job but they have to listen to the words spoken very carefully to get the answer while they are busy looking for the question. This is a good look at how humans will act in a tight space under extreme pressure. There isn’t too much more to talk about only to say how this film is intense study on the human nature through the situation that could easily be set in any time period.


Actor Review


Colin Salmon: The Invigilator is the man who gives the instructions, he is clear and to the point with what the candidates can and can’t do during their 80-minute exam. Colin does a good job in this role as the well-spoken instructor.

Luke Mably: White is the first one to talk during the exam, he realises everything is in what isn’t said, British through and through he comes off cocky arrogant giving everyone the racial stereotype names and will do anything to make sure he wins this job. Luke does a good job in this role that really pushes them to their limits.

Pollyanna McIntosh: Brunette is one of the candidates in the room who speaks up about what is going on in the room, she takes a chance on an idea where she becomes the first victim of White’s games. Pollyanna does a good job in this role as a strong female character.

Jimi Mistry: Brown is a gambler who takes a back seat through all the action only speaking up to try and bring down any ideas constantly clashing with Dark. Jimi is good in this role where he looks out of place which is important for the character.

Nathalie Cox: Blonde also seems to spend most of the film watching from the outside joining in the ideas but never having one of her own. She doesn’t want to get her hands dirty but knows if she goes along with the ideas she will stay out of the target zone of the more ruthless candidates. Nathalie is good in this role even though she doesn’t get involved as much as the rest.

Chukwudi Iwuji: Black he wants to earn this job honestly, he is happy to work with the rest but doesn’t want to do anything unethical to get the answer. He makes a big difference in the room as he is the first and only person to stand up to White. Chukwudi is good in this role as the man able to put everyone bad points aside for honesty.

Adar Beck: Dark who seems to know a lot more about the company than she is letting on, we do learn her secret but her ability to read people makes her one of the best candidates in the room. Adar does a good job in this role trying to look smarter than the rest.


Support Cast: Exam only has three more members of the cast who don’t say very much, two are candidates who are eliminated early while the other is the silent guard.

Director Review: Stuart HazeldineStuart gives us one of the most intense films in recent years that will keep you guessing until the final moments.


Mystery: Exam puts us into a mystery as we wonder what the question is let alone the answer.

Thriller: Exam keeps you on the edge of your seat as the 8 try to figure out what is going on.

Settings: Exam has the whole film set in one room for the exam and the time period it is happening in.

Suggestion: Exam is a film I would suggest to anyone to watch especially is you enjoy a film that makes you think. (Watch)


Best Part: Concept is brilliant.

Worst Part: Racial stereotyping

Favourite Quote: The Invigilator ‘There is one question before you, and one answer is required. If you try to communicate with myself or the guard, you will be disqualified. If you spoil your paper, intentionally or accidentally, you will be disqualified. If you choose to leave this room for any reason, you will be disqualified.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Awards: Nominated for a BAFTA for outstanding British Debut Writing/Directing

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: 80 minutes – 8 candidates – 1 answer – no question


Overall: Thriller that will keep you guessing from start to finish


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