Tuesday, 13 July 2010

EXAM DVD Review

When I first heard about this film, I was very interested, but put off seeing it as they advertised it as "Saw Meets Hell", and I have absolutely no interest in the Saw films due to the unecessary gore and rather flat plotline (don't hate!). This, however, was a pleasant surprise.


~~~DVD BOX COVER~~~
There is probably more gore on the cover than the whole film combined, which I think is a misinterpretation of the film. The plot is extremely clever and very tense, perhaps more psychological than physical, but nonetheless, this cover will most likely attract the general public moreso than other designs.

~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Eight candidates are sat in a room, all competing for the same job, with a piece of paper on the desk. They have Eighty minutes. One Question. One Answer. The simple premise of the plot carries itself through till the end. They have rules though.

1. They cannot speak to the guard or the invigilator. Doing so results in disqualification.
2. They cannot intentionally or accidentally spoil their paper. Doing so results in disqualification.
3. They cannot leave the room. Doing so results in disqualification.

However, upon turning the paper over, the underside of their sheet was blank. The candidates will have to use their wit and each other to solve this "problem".


I have to admit I was immediately drawn to this movie from the start. The way the candidates are introduced at the beginning by close ups. The subtle detail of their movement and their actions already give clues to their character.

Usually I do not comment on camera movement or any of that, but the way the film is shot and the attention to detail is to note. I noticed this from the beginning and it is very subtle. The camera work guides you to look at things that will increase tension and heighten excitement.

Character wise, each candidate has something special about them and they represent different traits. Interestingly, none of their real names are revealed, and instead nicknames were used between them based on appearance. For example, White (Luke Mably) is the arrogant, know-it-all type, whilst Brunette is a cool headed thinker. Their personalities inevitably clash and tension is thrown about, with their actions leading to the disqualification of the candidates one by one.
The plot is extremely clever and I was drawn into it from the first minute. Despite them being trapped in one room, you do not notice the time fly by as you witness their struggle to co-operate as well as their psychological fight to make sense of it all. The tension is extreme and there is a scene where I had to look away because I thought it would be gory, but overall, isn't. There is little or no gore in this, just some strong language and mild violence.


After about an hour and a half of tension (and getting nowhere with the question), there is a momentary peak of climatic action before all is cleverly revealed. The ending was actually really simple, and perhaps does not justify all the action we have seen, but is nonetheless satisfactory. This is one of those films that could potentially leave you gagging for an explanation, but is given in a simple way that is acceptable and understandable to all.

~~~CAST~~~
Most of the people in the film I have never heard of, and it only consists of ten cast members as follows:

Candidates~
Adar Beck - Dark
Gemma Chan- Chinese
Nathalie Cox- Blonde
John Lloyd Fillingham- Deaf
Chukwudi Iwuji- Black
Luke Mably- White
Pollyanna McIntosh- Brunette
Jimi Mistry- Brown

Other~
Colin Salmon- Invigilator
Chris Carey- Guard

Despite most of them being unknown to me apart from Jimi Mistry, they did a good job being the different characters that they were assigned. It really didn't matter how famous these people were, I enjoyed the film nonetheless. Luke Mably perhaps showed the most heightened emotion despite being a character that I did not like, but he will be remembered for this.

~~~OVERALL~~~
The simple concept of the film grew to an exciting and tense film that grips you from the beginning, takes you on a thrilling journey and leaves you satisfied till the end. Despite the rather "easy" end, it is acceptable and will not leave you feeling robbed. This is a rare film that is underrated and one I would highly recommend to all.

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