Movies that examine the human condition and push “normal people” to their breaking point tend to excite me and scare me at the same time. Whether those are based on real or fictitious events. For example, one of the better known examples of a movie I am talking about would be The Experiment, a fictionalized retelling of the experiment that was actually done with similar results.

That is terrifying.

Exam isn’t based on a real test, but it takes elements from those sorts of psychological thrillers.

Group of People
It could also be considered a bottle epi-uhh. Bottle movie.

Eight people are looking for a job. After passing grueling tests/tasks, none of which are shown or explained, they are the final eight people who are in consideration. There isn’t a lot of knowledge about the job details, but it requires being a leader, making tons of money, and changing their life forever.

We don’t know their real names, each candidate was just given a number, a desk, a paper, and a pencil. One of the candidates decides to call each person by their descriptive name of skin color or hair color and they seem to stick. So we have White (Luke Mably), Black (Chukwudi Iwuji), Brown (Jimi Mistry), Deaf (John Lloyd Fillingham), Asian (Gemma Chan), Blonde (Nathalie Cox), Brunette (Pollyanna McIntosh), and Dark (Adar Beck).

There is one man who tells them the rules, The Invigilator (Colin Salmon).

1) No trying to communicate with him or the guard (Chris Carey) at the door.
2) No spoiling their test.
3) No leaving the room.

They have 80 minutes to answer one question and one question only. Then, you know, the movie plays out.

“How does paper even work, really?”

Exam early on was able to keep my interest. There wasn’t a lot of music, it was just people talking and a lot of mystery up in the air. The viewer watching will want to pay close attention to everything going on to try and figure it out before the movie explains it all. It excelled there.

I was disappointed this wasn’t a real time movie. It is 100 minutes long, and an 80 minute test. They had a few minutes before the timer, and a few scenes after it. It would have been so much more creative to just literally give us an 80 minute exam. But no, time was sped up and skipped on multiple occasions, I think creating a more disappointing movie atmosphere.

Secondly? The ending was kind of…well…dumb in my opinion. They will explain everything to you, but even when they do, it still doesn’t make too much sense. It is the result of trying to be too clever and thus potentially just angering your viewers instead of making them feel enjoyment.

So there you go. An okay acted movie, with a lot of build up, but it all just flattens by the end. Still enjoyed the tense moments and human nature, however.

2 out of 4.

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