Friday, June 11, 2010

Film Review: Exam DVD [2010]

80 minutes, 8 candidates, 1 answer, and no questions.
The claustrophobic psychological thriller within a room with no windows is the setting for this film. The characters are comprised of an invigilator, a guard, and eight candidates. The invigilator states the rules and exits posting an armed guard inside the room and himself watching through a camera. The examination begins with the candidates having only 80 minutes to finish. However the examination paper is blank and the rest of the film plays out like a murder mystery with the question representing as the killer.
Each of the characters is given a stereotypical name by one of the candidates to take away their identities and leaving their actions to represent who they really are throughout the film. Much like Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs where the characters are represented by colors, the Exam has the characters represented by race. This brought a sense of unpredictably within the film building upon the initial tension that brought the characters together.

Colin Salmon portrays the invigilator, which sounds like a great name for a villain, commands the scene with his intimating stature over the room of potential candidates. One of the most underrated actors in the UK, Colin Salmon recently starred in the BBC TV series Chris Ryan’s Strike Back, Doctor Who, and Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

Stuart Hazeldine wrote and directed this film. He also has previously rewritten scripts such as The Day The Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves and the Knowing with Nicolas Cage. It is mesmerizing to see anyone that is multi- talented enough to write and direct a film due to the passion that is brought forth by completing one’s own masterpiece. A great film that would most likely set the bar higher for other films to follow.