Movie Review: Exam (2009)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the psychological thriller starring Adar Beck and Nathalie Cox.

Synopsis: Eight candidates are finalists for an elite position at profitable company known for creating a miracle drug that helped bring a recent virus epidemic under control. The last stage of the hiring process involves the candidates being locked in a room together for an exam. There is just one question and they have 80 minutes to answer it. The only problem is the exam papers appear to be blank and, as a result, they must first figure out what the question is.

Review

I came across this movie on Netflix yesterday afternoon and, while I did have some doubts about the thriller aspect of the film, I was intrigued by the unique-sounding plot. As a result, I ended up watching this with my wife last night and the movie more than exceeded my expectations.

As I kind of suspected, the film wasn't quite what I would describe as a thriller. There were a couple somewhat intense moments toward the end, as the clock began to run out and some of the candidates decided to turn on the rest of the group. But, for the most part, this movie fell short of what I would expect to see from a film in that genre.

The thing that really won me over about this movie were the various mysteries. In addition to the (apparently) blank test page, everything about their situation was vague. Some of the candidates were recruited. Others applied for the job. But, even those who applied and had a bit more information about the company had no real idea what they were applying for. This, in turn, created even more confusion because it wasn't clear if the company was looking for a team player or an individual who was willing to do whatever it took to win.

One thing that really surprised me about this movie was the way the candidates reacted to the test. Based on the movie's description and the very short list of rules (they can't leave the room, they can't talk to the security guard or the people administering the test and they can't "spoil" their test paper), I figured it would be an every-person-for-themselves scenario. Instead, even though there was one alpha male (Mably) who was willing to do whatever it took to gain an edge, the group, in general, worked as a team.

I actually liked this because, as we learned more about their motivation for going after the job and watched their time expiring, it made their individual reactions to the stressful situation much more interesting to watch than it would have been had they all started out at each other's throats. Not to mention, it raised the issue if one (or more) of them was actually a company plant, again adding to the overall mystery.

Exam

Like Saw for corporate go-getters, in EXAM eight young people vying for a sought-after job are locked together in a room and given one hour to finish their exam. But the exam is...

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Final Opinion

As I said, I wouldn't really describe this movie as a thriller. But, as a mystery, it is definitely unique and intriguing. I would definitely recommend it as a result.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 06/09/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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