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Exam [Import]

Adar Beck , Gemma Chan , Stuart Hazeldine    Unrated   DVD

Price: CDN$ 27.58 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This closed room scenario thriller is VERY engaging and not to be missed! Dec 9 2010
By Haunted Flower - Published on Amazon.com
1 Disc DVD Widescreen, being released November 16, 2010

"Exam" was written, produced, and directed by Stuart Hazeldine who is known for some sci-fi film writing and not much else. I had low expectations going in on this one and was VERY pleasantly surprised. Hazeldine in this closed room scenario managed to pull out the tension that "Devil" failed to achieve earlier this year in an elevator.

The premise is that eight candidates are vying for a very prestigious job with a company. They are shown into a room with eight desks, each of which has a white slip of paper with "Candidate" and a number after it. A proctor of the "exam" informs them that there is one question before them and one answer and lays out ground rules of not attempting to speak to the proctor or the guard in the room and that if any of them "spoils" their paper, they are disqualified and escorted out.

What follows is an exercise in logic and group dynamics as each of them attempts to pull information out of the others without giving much in return. A sassy bad boy-type man who makes waves played by Luke Mably dubs himself the nickname "White" and then hands out nicknames to the others based on their race or hair color to make things simpler. While they try to work together to at least find the question, it soon becomes every man or woman for themselves.

I found this film suspenseful and intriguing with very well developed characters, dialogue, and strategy. The entire film takes place in one room that they manage to use in interesting ways once the characters in the room attempt to change the space to induce results. It flows VERY well and I was so worried that the ending would drop the ball but, NO SPOILERS, I was very pleased with the way it wrapped up and thankful that the job ended up being something very worthwhile when it was finally revealed. NOT a horror movie though its poster makes it look like one. It is a suspense mystery movie. HIGHLY recommended, CHECK IT OUT!
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And You Thought The Current Job Market Was Competitive? Oct. 14 2010
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
An intricate puzzler, "Exam" is a topical and prescient locked room mystery that makes good use of standard thriller conventions and modernizes them in unique and timely ways. With eight strangers (and one security guard) enclosed in a classroom, "Exam" initiates a competition and lets the psychological warfare begin. Reliant on a smart script and good performances, this film with its claustrophobic setting and defined time frame allows for a slow build tension that eventually explodes as the clock ticks down. The hook to "Exam" is that these eight individuals are in the last stages of a crucial job interview process and an enigmatic final test is the last hurdle. With desperation and deceit, the prospective employees find themselves combatants in the ultimate mind game!

"Exam" ratchets up the stakes by setting the film in the near future where a pandemic is ripping through the world's populace. Winning the job is a chance at survival itself as one of the company perks is a treatment protocol--a health insurance package of undeniable importance. But to gain life, is it worth trading your humanity? That's the conundrum each of the interviewees must face. From various backgrounds, these applicants form a good cross section of society and this microcosm starts to unravel almost immediately. Each is given a blank sheet of paper and asked to answer one question--but the question is never defined. After they initially work together, they start to become more and more frantic and more and more ruthless at eliminating the competition. There will be only one victor.

The story is taut and tidy. The screenplay is clever without being overly precious. And the cast is game. Ranging from cool bravado to outright hysteria, each actor brings a unique characteristic to their role. I will single out Luke Mably for special mention. In other films, he has sometimes come across as rather placid and nondescript. Here he is absolutely captivating with an intensity that burns up the screen and propels the movie forward. His unhinged performance lends an "anything can happen" feel to the film that is really effective. "Exam" is a thinking person's thriller for people who appreciate the tension that can be generated by dialogue and human interaction. The concept brings out both the best and worst of those involved and that is where the drama lay. "Exam" is a psychological treat that actually has a decent emotional payoff--I was very pleasantly surprised! KGHarris, 10/10.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smart and twisted mental puzzle. Dec 17 2013
By Anthony L. - Published on Amazon.com
Eight brilliant strangers gathered together in a cold, sterile room. They know each other only by nicknames. White is cocky and manipulative, a leader; Black wears a cross around his neck, and is deceptively sharp; Brown is a cynical, cautious gambler; Blonde is quiet and observant; Brunette is an analytic thinker who won't be pushed around; Dark is a dangerously good psychologist, hiding secrets; Deaf is an introverted, French-speaking outsider. Only seven you say? The eighth, a young Chinese woman, is coldly and quickly expelled by the robotic, armed guard standing at the door, for writing on her paper.

Their task? Answer one question correctly, written on a piece of paper, that will lead to them getting hired by the richest company in the world for a job that will almost certainly lead to fortune and prestige. The only problem? All their papers are blank. To tell any more would be to spoil the plot of one of the most original, ingenious, and tightest independent thrillers I've seen in a good long while, and I CERTAINLY wouldn't want to do that.

EXAM shows the dark side of human nature. It shows the parts we would rather cover up. It takes 8, on the surface decent, humans, and turns them into animals - cheating, manipulating, scheming, and fighting. Like 12 Angry Men if the 12 men were from all over the globe, all brilliant, all desperate, and all willing to kill for a perfect job, Exam uses it's one-location setting to terrible effect, leading to a surprisingly insightful and detailed glance at human nature, knowledge, and the nature of questions.

The acting fits the film perfectly. Director Stuart Hazeldine's international cast brings a wide variety of talents; the acting cannot be faulted, and standout performances come from White, Brown, Deaf, and Colin Salmon's Invigilator. The cinematography and camerawork too, is excellent; cold, slick, and quite often beautiful, it fits the story near-flawlessly. Extra points for a quiet, mood-building score.

Yes, there may be plotholes, but this original screenplay and plot is one of the most original, thought-provoking, and smart I have ever seen. Kudos to the cast and crew for a slick, intense, riveting, and endlessly convoluted psychological thrill ride. This movie is not for everyone, however. It contains little action, and casual viewers may find the film confusing. But if you like psychological thrillers that rely on mind games instead of explosions, independent films, and puzzles, Exam is definitely a must-watch. 4.5 points out of 5 (see what I did there?).
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The unexamined life is not worth living Sept. 19 2012
By Kevin Killian - Published on Amazon.com
This picture reminded me of a time when newly graduated from high school I tried to put myself through college by taking the SAT exams for younger students. If they wanted to get into some place great I'd try to get brilliant scores, if they wanted to get into community college I'd answer badly. It would be rather fun except it was a little bit nerve wracking, and I stopped my activities when one girl in the classroom recognized me under my true identity and nearly jobbed me as a bad lot. Whew, I can still feel the relief. I don't think you could do this today, I expect every single person, even the young, has some sort of picture ID, or maybe they use DNA evidence, but back then you basically just out your social security card on the desk and the proctors might give it a look but usually they just whisked by like runway models, looking neither sideways nor down.

In EXAM the young people are not trying to get into top schools but rather they're sitting for an exam in which the top applicant will win a job with a faceless corporation. It didn't seem likely to us, but then they explained that the world had been invaded with a killer disease and that this company a) gave top people great medical insurance and b) actually were this close to a cure. In th4 closed set of the exam room, it all seems far away, and thus when the eight people are all revealed to have enough motive to do just about anything to stay in the game, it makes sense, well, up to a certain point. I'm afraid the low budget of the production limits its plausibility. We never get a sense of the outside world, and the characters, who absurdly use not their own names but they answer to names like "Black," "White" and "Brown" bestowed on them by a chav, come across like they think they're in some Guy Ritchie remake of The Usual Suspects. Or is it like Glengarry Glen Ross, mixed with a little bit of Reservoir Dogs, but with much cuter guys. There's nothing original about EXAM in the least, but Jimi Mistry, Luke Mabry and Chuk Iwuji are all entertaining in their brown, white and black ways. The girls, not so much. Two of them are among the worst actresses I've ever seen in an actual movie, you think it's some kind of reality show but it's not, they're supposed to be edgy young British talent. Well, I shouldn't be harsh, I'm just warning you, this movie has A aspirations but D-level performances, and the writing is ludicrous, once you realize that the whole ninety minutes folks are going to think about what you could do with a sheet of white paper short of ruining it. Everything we thought of, no matter how silly, the characters then proposed and tried it out. "Let's give the weak one a paper cut with it!" Done.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very underrated, interesting movie. March 25 2011
By chickens - Published on Amazon.com
In this movie 8 candidates have come through tests to get a job in a company. You will learn about the company more later in the movie. They must answer one question in 80 min. If they attempt to leave the room, talk to the guard or the the guy in crage, or "soil" thier paper they will be disqualified. But, thier paper only says "candidate (then thier number)". So, where is the question? That's what these people have to find out to get a job. They can do ANYTHING, anything at all besides soil thier paper, attempt to leave the room, or talk to the guard or dude in charge. It's a competition, or is it a trick? How do they find they question? Should they work together or on thier own?

It's a mind game type thing, stuck in a room with 8 people. I won't spoil anything they do, but it's very suspenseful and makes you wonder what these people would do to get this job.

This movie is highly reccomended, by the way it isn't horror.

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