5 out of 10
Released: 10 January 2010
Director: Stuart Hazeldine (The Shack)
Cast: Jimi Mistry, Luke Mably, Nathalie Cox, Chuk Iwuji, Pollyanna McIntosh, Adar Beck, John Lloyd Fillingham, Gemma Chan and Colin Salmon
Writer: Stuart Hazeldine & Simon Garrity
Here’s a high-concept Brit-Pic with a low budget but enough ideas to fill ten big budget movies. This is for film fans who enjoy a brain teaser. Fans of Glengarry Glen Ross, Saw or Fermat’s Room will be along for the ride and unless you unravel puzzles like this for a living this one may tie you in knots.
The set up is simple, eight candidates for a job in the world’s leading medical corporation have to sit one final exam after having made it through a very tough process. Four women, four men, one answer, no question. The page is blank and there is an armed man at the door. There is a clock counting down to zero. What will happen? Destruction? Nothing? We’re pretty much along for the ride in this nifty little film.
Good performances from a largely unknown cast help ramp up the claustrophobia and the panic, stripping the candidates down to types very quickly. Set in a single room in real time, this could send some audience members running for the hills. But the twists and turns will keep your average viewer happy. It’s not a horror film but it does come close to bone once or twice, but saying that, it’s no Saw. It’s good to see Jimi Mistry (2012) in a strong leading role as he rarely gets cast in anything to build on his next best thing status promised in the late 90s. Colin Salmon (RESIDENT EVIL) is also in the room briefly fulfilling the Alec Baldwin role in Glegarry Glen Ross. He sets chills as the unreadable invigilator.
Its worth seeking out if you enjoy a puzzle. but like all mysteries, its not only about the journey, its about the reveal. Whether you think the outcome is worth the bother is very much down to you. I’d say it will need a second watch just to spot the obviously clues that many may have missed.
For once an experiment that works. Set bound – yes. a head-scratch – yes, enjoyable – yes. Crucial viewing? Well it crept onto a handful of cinemas in back in early 2010 and made no money. So despite having good coverage in film magazines it passed everyone by. Seems people chose the January blockbuster over the more quizzical. So I’d recommend it for those that look beyond the blockbuster for something a little uneasy, a little bit difficult but not alienating.
A good genre flick, but that ending? Was it worth it?
5 out of 10... An exciting Sunday crossword for fans of Saw and Glengarry Glen Ross
See Joe Pesci II’s review below…
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Jimi Mistry: Coronation Street (TV), The Arbor, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, West Is West, Basement, 2012, Blood Diamond, My Kingdom, Eastenders (TV), The Guru, Rock-n-Rolla, Born Romantic, East Is East
- Luke Mably: Chosen (2016), Rise of the Footsoldier 2, The Prince and Me 2, The Prince and Me, Spirit Trap, 28 Days Later
- Nathalie Cox: London Heist, Scar Tissue
- Pollyanna McIntosh: Native, The Walking Dead (TV), White Settlers, Let Us Prey, MI High (TV), Filth, Burke and Hare
- John Lloyd Fillingham: Coronation Street (TV), Bradford Riots
- Gemma Chan: London Fields, Stratton, Transformers 5, Humans (TV), Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, The Double (2014), Jack Ryan – Shadow Recruit, Secret Diary of a Call Girl (TV), Pimp
- Colin Salmon: Criminal (2016), London Has Fallen, 24 (TV), Arrow (TV), Resident Evil 5, Shank, Stalker (2011), How To Stop Being a Loser, Just For The Record, Devil’s Playground, Clubbed, Blood – The Last Vampire, Punisher – War Zone, The Bank Job, Match Point, Resident Evil, Alien Vs. Predator, James Bond: The World Is Not Enough, James Bond – Tomorrow Never Dies, James Bond – Die Another Day, My Kingdom, Fanny and Elvis, The Wisdom Of Crocodiles, Captives