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Archive for September 17th, 2010

Exam

Set in a single room with a cast of just ten people. Eight strangers must sit an exam, the last stage of applying for a unspecified but high-powered and much coveted job. They are given a few simple rules before they turn over the papers to start the exam only to find the pages blank.

If you are going to lock a group of strangers in a room in a movie you need a good concept, in the age of The Apprentice and Big Brother this is the best strangers in a room concept since Cube. Other movies like The Killing Room (2009) and Breathing Room (2008) have had good ideas but have fallen short in one way or another. As the movie plays out in near real-time the characters gradually reveal their hand with enough twists and turns in their personalities and agendas to keep the audiences interests. That’s not to say the movie isn’t afraid to bring out all the “strangers locked in a room” clichés, but they are so well handled it really doesn’t matter. Likewise the single room setting isn’t claustrophobic or stage play like except when it wants to be.  The cast of largely unknown actors, Colin Salmon and Jimi Mistry are the only ones I recognise, do a great job with standout performances from Luke Mably and Chukwudi Iwuji. While it is the men who provide the backbone of the story it is the women, Nathalie Cox, Pollyanna McIntosh and Adar Beck who provide the heart and soul.

Many movies start by telling us what year in the past, present or future they are set, this movie is described as being set “Soon” this gives a certain air of inevitability about the idea of where the world is going. Unfortunately it fails to take the opportunity to make any kind of statement that could have elevated it from a good movie to great one. Having said that it is still an impressive debut by first time writer director Stuart Hazeldine

Four Stars out of Five

 

Originally released in the UK on 8 January 2010, it didn’t make it to a cinema near me so I have just caught up with it on DVD.

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