Luke Mably, Adar Beck, Nathalie Cox, Chukwudi Iwuji, Pollyanna McIntosh, Jimi Mistry, Gemma Chan, John Lloyd Fillingham, Chris Carey and Colin Salmon
Out to buy on Blu-Ray/DVD 07/06/10
"What is the question?"
Eight talented candidates have made it to the final stage of selection for a prestigious position in one of the biggest and most powerful corporations in the world. Taking their places at desks within an enclosed room, a guard (Carey) and the Invigilator (Salmon) enter the room and welcome the candidates to their final exam. Explaining the rules of the exam, the invigilator leaves the room and a countdown of eighty minutes begins but all the candidates are left with is a blank piece of paper and no questions to answer.
When it comes to thinking about the most nervous you have been in your life, taking an exam might just come to mind but what if your life depended on it?
With the current financial climate and the lack of major investment coming into film, the British film industry and filmmakers have had to be creative when it comes to making compelling cinema and Director Stuart Hazaldine has done just that. Taking place in one room with a cast of ten people, ‘Exam’ is a thriller that will draw you in and have you on the edge of your seat for the full duration.
The premise is simple. Eight candidates enter a room to sit, what they think is the final exam to be accepted into one of the biggest and most powerful companies in the world. This would be a dream job for any of the final eight and this final test will determine who should take that most valuable of positions. After the invigilator outlines the rules of the exam, the candidates are left with a blank piece of paper and no further instructions. This, of course, leads to confusion, frustration and mistrust within the eight candidates, as they try and figure what the actual question is and what they have to do. This all takes place in the one room, the one set and relies on the performances of the cast to bring tension to this suspense thriller.
Given nicknames to save their anonymity, we learn little about them or their background but it is their personalities that shine through. Luke Mably as White, is the overly confident, cocky candidate who expects to pass. Chukwudi Iwuji as Black, is the man with all the possible solutions. Pollyanna McIntosh as Brunette, provides an insight into the company and some psychoanalysis of the situation. Jimi Mistry as Brown, provides unrest but is the one to make the tough decisions. Nathalie Cox as Blonde, is the voice of reason but doesn’t really want to get involved. There is also Gemma Chan as Chinese, John Lloyd Fillingham as Deaf, as well as Chris Carey as the Guard and the always excellent Colin Salmon as the Invigilator. It is these performances that draw you into the fascinating and gripping story.
‘Exam’ is a riveting thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat throughout. The performances are superb, feeling more like a stage play than a movie but this works to build tension, gripping you from the off. This is another fine example of how low budget, character driven filmmaking can really work.
Commentary with Director Stuart Hazeldine & Editor Mark Talbot-Butler
Behind the Scenes footage
Interview with Director Stuart Hazeldine
Interview with Producer Gareth Unwin
Interview with Director of Photography Tim Wooster
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