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140 out of 166 people found the following review useful:

Low-budget gem

7/10
Author: BernardoLima from Portugal
8 June 2010

Eight talented candidates have reached the final stage of selection to join the ranks of a mysterious and powerful corporation. Entering a windowless room, an Invigilator gives them eighty minutes to answer one simple question. He outlines three rules they must obey or be disqualified: don't talk to him or the armed guard by the door, don't spoil their papers and don't leave the room. He starts the clock and leaves. The candidates turn over their question papers, only to find they're completely blank. Soon enough, the candidates begin to uncover each other's background, prejudices and hidden agendas. Tensions rise as the clock steadily descends towards zero, and each candidate must decide how far they are willing to go to secure the ultimate job.

Exam is a gem of a film. This low budget psychological thriller is very clever, incredibly entertaining and the production values are all far better then you would expect from such an unknown film. It's tense, mysterious and has a great atmosphere, and more importantly it stimulates your brain. It's impossible to not get caught up in the story and try to figure out just what the hell is actually going on. It couldn't be more engaging.

There's not one well-known actor in this cast and yet, for the most part, the acting was great. One actor, Luke Mably, really stood out though. But what really made the film work was undeniably, the impeccable direction. In conclusion, Exam is a great low-budget thriller that puts many Hollywood blockbusters to shame. Definitely worth seeing and I'll be sure to check Stuart Hazeldine's next project after such a promising debut.

7.5/10

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123 out of 174 people found the following review useful:

An amazingly clever psychological thriller

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
12 June 2010

This film is about eight candidates who are in the final round of selection for a prestigious job. They have to answer one question in eighty minutes, but the question sheet they have is blank.

The whole film has the same setting and characters throughout, but it is never boring. Not even for one minute. With every single minute, it gets more suspenseful and engaging.

It is such a superb character study, focusing on what people do in stressful, confusing and even helpless situations. it really gets you to think what is the question, which is so painfully obvious once you realise what is the question.

The best thing is that, there is no flaw in the plot. It is not easy to come up with such an intelligent plot. "Exam" has to be one of the most suspenseful, intriguing, clever, well written and thrilling film I have seen in a long time.

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78 out of 100 people found the following review useful:

Exciting!

8/10
Author: Jenna Gray from Sweden
13 March 2011

What an exciting movie! I had absolutely no expectations of this film. I had never even heard of it when I came across it. Since I've seen a lot of movies lately that have most often disappointed me, I thought this would be another one. But I'm glad to say it wasn't. I have a hard time concentrating when watching movies, I often turn my attention to something else and because of that I get lost in the plot. Some movies though, manages to keep me focused on the movie the entire time and this was one of those movies. I love a good mystery, where the movie makes you really think. When you try to solve the mystery (this time, the question) yourself. So I stayed focused every minute and it never got boring. It's basically a riddle and if you think you're smart enough, watch it and see if you can come up with the right answer before the characters do! ;)

I would definitely recommend this film to other people. I'd give it a 7 or an 8.

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95 out of 145 people found the following review useful:

exciting, topical thriller

8/10
Author: sparkytb from United Kingdom
29 July 2009

I had the pleasure of seeing this pic at the recent Edinburgh Film Festival and it is certainly not The Apprentice. More like 12 Angry Men meets Cube.

Photographed in the impressive cinemascope screen shape and very sharply edited, the director takes us on a psychological journey where the characters, who are at first cagey, gradually open up to reveal their true identities. This manifests itself in various ways as the candidates gradually step up to bat and take each other on in a variety of ways. Some good, some bad, some horrific - but always interesting.

Perhaps a tad talky in the centre section but it builds to an exciting and clever climax that wields a distinct note of hope and positivity.

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45 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

Eight people sitting through testing times.

7/10
Author: tyler-and-jack from Edinburgh.
2 August 2010

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. The cast is so small that I now feel bad if I don't namecheck Adar Beck, Gemma Chan, John Lloyd Fillingham and Pollyanna McIntosh. Oh, and Chris Carey stands and looks focused as the guard.

While there are moments here and there when the economy of the movie starts to encroach on your thoughts it's surprising just how much tension and enjoyment can be wrung out of the material. Ironically, it's only in the final few minute when too many answers are provided that the movie really disappoints. 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.

Hazeldine may have some way to go before he proves his worth but this film makes for a fine calling card and certainly puts him on the list as "one to watch" in British cinema.

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48 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

Reasonably Good Psychological Mystery

7/10
Author: supadude2004 from Bangkok, Thailand
7 June 2010

Take "Saw" and remove approximately 95% of the torture element, then take 8 candidates, sit them in a room and give them an exam presided over by a security officer who oversees all, as they seek to find the answer to the question that they've been asked by the invigilator of a surreptitiously successful organization. Of course, once they actually find the question first that's easy, or... is it?

To some people this movie 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. Oh and lest I forget, the Chinese girl "Gemma Chan" is mega yummy - what a stunning girl indeed!!!

Overall this movie's a 7/10. Definitely worth a watch *if* you like to keep guessing... But if you like your guessing to remain on autopilot throughout a movie's duration, then I'd advise you to avoid this movie.

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34 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Terrific filming, a small-budget conceit, and a plot stretched to the breaking point

6/10
Author: secondtake from United States
6 February 2011

Exam (2009)

What a bizarre movie. It's so beautifully filmed, almost virtuosic in its use of focus and close up and light, you almost forget that the plot is a highly contrived package of clever ideas. When you do think about the plot, and the various holes that open up in the logic of it, you are almost forced to enjoy it for the visuals. And for the acting, which has some real high points.

You also marvel at how the entire movie is shot in a single room (with a glimpse of hallway a few times). I suppose you might bow to the film's makers for pulling off so much with so little. The result is intelligent and a little bit suspenseful at its best moments. When it begins it is absolutely fascinating, from the opening scenes establishing the characters to the first laying out of the rules (although there is a drama that reminded me for some reason of "Deal or No Deal" at its tackiest). Then some of the characters break out of the futurist mode and we have normal people vying to win the game, the contest to be hired by the mysterious health products company behind the scenes. (This part will remind everyone of a stylized and a bit false seeming "The Apprentice" even to the point that you might wish for a Donald Trump to appear from behind the dark screen and prod them along.)

By the end, I think most people will either be a bit tired of it all, or mostly incredulous. It pulls out lots of tricks, and we are inevitably a little surprised by the final turns of events. But I'm not sure it lives up to the high standards set at the start. Get sucked in, sure, but be prepared to stick it out with effort.

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35 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

Impressive movie!

9/10
Author: Ron Moreno from Philippines
26 April 2012

I'm very excited upon seeing the film and sitting through it, for I expected that it would give me an impressive outcome, and I have to say, It did deliver. Exam is a low-budgeted film, which has 8 main character, a guard, and an invigilator. Despite of the said budget, It was able to give me a solid plot, awesome acting and great ending. Though the movie do not have a lot of gore scenes (I guess none at all), nor lots of screaming and killing. It was still great. It will keep you guessing and guessing and, simultaneously discovering the characters background, this movie is not boring at all, It'll keep you thinking and wait to see if your guess is right. This movie, only proved that budget is not a major factor in creating a ground-breaking movie. Exam is one of a kind and I wish to see more of this. 9/10.

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39 out of 65 people found the following review useful:

absolutely brilliant!

8/10
Author: amalh from Germany
9 September 2010

well, i was reluctant to this film at first, thinking ...entire film taking place in a close room, 8 people chit chat their way to success - doesn't sounds too appealing. TW (time wasting) alarm? it couldn't be further far from the truth. this film rocks!! not the typical interview i suppose, more like a socio-metric test for the ultimate assistance. how would i do i kept asking myself. i sort of films like that, CGI and special effects are put aside, what makes the film in A: Directing B: acting (and of course - a good script to back it up). and this film did marvelously well! acting is superb by all. Casting made sure to put the right face to the each character, and WHITE and BLACK out-act them all with probably their best role to date. Sit tight and enjoy this mind-toggling film.

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Suspenseful Use of the Storyline of "El método" (2005) Combined with the Violence and Tension of "Das Experiment" (2001)

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
11 April 2014

In a near future, eight candidates are in the final stage for the position of CEO's assistant in a pharmaceutical corporation. They are locked in a room and the invigilator tells them that they have eighty minutes to answer one question only. He explains that in the lawless space there are only three rules to be followed otherwise they would be disqualified: they should talk neither to him nor to the armed guard; they should not spoil their piece of paper; and they should not leave the room. He starts the chronometer and leaves the room. Then the candidates discover that they have a blank piece of paper with their numbers only. One woman starts writing on the paper and is removed from the room for spoiling the paper. The other candidates figure out that they are allowed to talk to each other and they need teamwork to discover the questions. As far as the time runs out, the tension increases.

"Exam" is a low-budget movie with an intriguing psychological thriller and great direction and performances. The suspenseful story uses of the storyline of "El método" (2005) combined with the violence and tension of "Das Experiment" (2001). However it fails for not providing the big picture of this society with infected people and why the group wishes so bad the position in the corporation. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): Not Available

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