Runtime: 101 minutes
Release Date: June 17, 2010
Director: Stuart Hazeldine
In the very near future, or at least an alternate version of the near future, a group of young people sit inside a classroom and wait for instructions. We learn that there was a virus that struck a number of people in the world and that a company created a cure and now hopes to find a new employee. Those in the room are all in the running for that single job.
A man walks in, hands them each a piece of paper, and gives them instructions regarding what comes next. He tells them that they must find an answer to the question given, points to the paper, warns them not to talk to the guard standing by the door, and tells them not to mess up their papers. He asks if they have any questions before leaving.
Each of those in the room has a different type of strength, but they all have problems working together. White, who is your classic douche bag on campus, gives everyone nicknames based on their hair or skin color. Since they can't mess up their own papers, he steals the paper belonging to the man he calls Deaf because the man can't or won't talk. As they attempt to find a solution, White goes out of his way to ensure that each person gets disqualified. As time runs out though, it becomes clear that getting this job will involve thinking outside of the corporate box.
Exam is an interesting movie, but I'm not sure that I got it or that I liked it. The film starts out with several strangers stuck in the same room together, but it doesn't take long before they begin turning on each other. That doesn't leave viewers much time to get to know them or even decide who they like. White is clearly the worst of the worst. He goes out of his way to set up others so that they will fail and get kicked out of the competition, but he's actually one of the easiest characters to relate to in the film. Who wouldn't act just like him in the same situation? Though the others tend to scream at him or try to make him feel bad, you kind of want to root for him to win. It's like watching Survivor and wanting the quiet and meek girl who rode the coattails of a villain to actually win the competition.
The movie also gets a boost from the addition of Colin Salmon. As a newcomer to the world of Arrow – I only started watching the show and getting caught up last summer – it was nice to see him in a few brief scenes. The cold look that he carries around on his face makes you understand that this is a serious test from the opening scene. His no BS stance might even make you glad that you aren't in that room.
Other films attempted the small set atmosphere to poor results, but Exam actually does a pretty good job. All of the action takes place in this one single room, but there is so much action that you don't feel confined, and it won't leave you wishing that the film showed the characters outside of that room either. I think Exam is one of those films that you only need to see once though.
Exam is currently streaming on Netflix.