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80 minutes - 8 candidates - 1 answer - no question 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Stuart Hazeldine 
Starring: Luke Mably, Jimi Mistry, Colin Salmon  
An image from Exam

Set in the near future, eight candidates are sitting a final exam for their dream job. In a small windowless room overseen by an armed guard, the invigilator (Salmon) calmly explains to them that they have eighty minutes to answer one question obeying just three rules:

1. They must not speak to the invigilator or the guard.

2. They must not spoil their papers.

3. They must not leave the room.

It sounds simple enough but there's one problem: the exam paper is blank...

What starts as just competitiveness to solve this riddle rapidly turns to violence as, with time running out, the candidates become more and more desperate to find the answer. Is the question meant to be philosophical? Is the test to see how they work together? And ultimately, is the dream job worth dying for?

Stuart Hazeldine was nominated for a Bafta for this film, his directorial debut, and judging by what he's achieved with it, he should have a long and successful career. Rather than becoming a limitation of the film, the confined environment is used to create a sense of claustrophobia that really adds to the tension as events spiral out of control. Hazeldine does an exceptional job maintaining the mystery of the film’s premise and we're left guessing right up to the end.

The cast also deserve a mention with some real standout performances. Luke Mably in particular does an excellent job adding depth to the bullying and arrogant 'White' making him both dislikeable and sympathetic at the same time. With only a limited release, WSC is lucky to be one of the few cinemas able to show Exam. Don't miss the chance to see this gem of British cinema on the big screen.

George Marshall

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Summer Term (35mm)