Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Review of Exam (2010)

Written by Stuart Hazeldine And Simon Garrity
Directed by Stuart Hazeldine

Blonde: "Let's get started."

The tagline for this psychological thriller is "The Apprentice go to hell" and it's one that is apt within the first few minutes of this movie. Eight candidates are put in a room with a blank sheet of paper and have only eighty minutes to not only answer the question but to actually figure it out in the first place and earn a position in the prestigious company that they are vying for in the first place.

In one of several interesting twists, none of the characters are given proper names onscreen. Instead they're broken down and credited with nicknames based on physical attributes and are referred to White (Luke Mably), Black (Chuk Iwuji), Brown (Jimi Mistry), Brunette (Pollyanna McIntosh), Blonde (Nathalie Cox), Dark (Adar Beck), Deaf (John Lloyd Fillingham) and Chinese Girl (Gemma Chan) as they're ordered to obey several rules, one of which is not to communicate with the Invigilator (Colin Salmon).

Throughout the movie, each of the candidates in question either screw up of their own accord or are picked off namely by White and the list grows shorter and shorter for the job vacancy while they all attempt to figure out what is actually being asked of them when they're not picking each other apart rather personally.

Keeping with the fact that it's a psychological thriller, it's a very talky sort of movie with each of the candidates getting decent amounts of focus as we slowly learn more about each one of them. If there was a villain of the piece, then it's White, who literally embodies every nasty, overly competitive stereotype of an actual Apprentice candidate. There is at least one glorious moment where he's bound and gagged by Black after pushing his luck one time too many, before his hubris screws him over at the last minute.

White is literally the only candidate of the bunch (except for one moment where his life's in danger) whom as an audience we're expected to detest and it's really not hard to do as he's thoroughly unpleasant towards everyone else in the room. The rest of the candidates have their moments, even a few dark and selfish ones but are generally written to be more sympathetic.

The running theme about a cure for a pandemic is also explored within the confines of the movie as it's something that most of the candidates have in common and it's the winner's eventual victory, level headed behaviour and compassion that sees them accepting a position to help save mankind. I have to admit the actual twist at the end genuinely surprised me but it did seem to make sense given everything else that had proceeded it.

Exam is certainly a clever movie, the kind you might not have heard of or probably would've caught by accident on Horror Channel or something but it's definitely worth a look at. It also rightly evokes the horror of an actual exam and job interview pretty succinctly as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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