Exam review

Eight very special job candidates in one small room are given a short set of carefully worded instructions and one hour to answer an undefined question.

After the initial, very intriguing, ten minutes, the first half of the film is plodding as it attempts to build up tension, the characters monotonously obsessing over how to reveal hidden ink on their exam papers, doing little to drive the story forward. An added annoyance is that they don’t come across as bordering on vaguely special let alone very special — it’s doubtful any of them could win a packet of crisps in a pub quiz let alone the universe’s most desirable job in a super hardcore test.

Cleverly, in terms of practical filmmaking, confined to a single room, it is heavily reliant on dialogue, which is by no means Tarantino-grade but is passable. Interest increases in the second half of the film as more incidents take place, more candidates are “disqualified” and although the predictable decline into primal savagery isn’t overly convincing, the ending is satisfactory and the simple twist is as clever as it is eye-roll inducing.

3 out of 5

15th Jan 2010 | Official site | On IMDb