Synopsis: Eight talented candidates have reached the final stage of selection to join the ranks of a mysterious and powerful corporation. Entering a windowless room, an Invigilator gives them eighty minutes to answer one simple question. He outlines three rules they must obey or be disqualified: don't talk to him or the armed guard by the door, don't spoil their papers and don't leave the room. He starts the clock and leaves. The candidates turn over their question papers, only to find they're completely blank. After the initial confusion has subsided, one frustrated candidate writes 'I believe I deserve...,' and is promptly ejected for spoiling. The remaining candidates soon figure out they're permitted to talk to each other, and they agree to cooperate in order to figure out the question: then they can compete to answer it. At first they suspect the question may be hidden in their papers like a security marker in a credit card, and they figure out ways to change their environment to expose the
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Director(s): Stuart Hazeldine
Production: Bedlam Productions
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min

You deserve this.

You do.

You've earned it.

I can do all things.

All things.

Come on.

Come on. Come on.

I am the Invigilator.

Listen carefully

to every word I say.

There will be no repetition.

I won't apologize

for the hardships you've endured

reaching this room.

The pressures and the pains

were necessary.

Resilience is a key attribute

in these dark times,

and if you can't survive

our selection process,

you won't survive

in the job.

Many highly qualified


have tried to reach this point

and failed.

You have succeeded,

and now the final stage

lies before you.

One last hurdle separates you

from your goal,

which is to join

our esteemed ranks.

The test is simple

in comparison,

yet it will determine

who leaves this room

with a contract of employment

and who leaves

with the bus fare home.

Through these trials,

you've gained some idea of

the power of this organization,

so believe me

when I tell you

that there is no law

in this room

but our law.

And the only rules in here

are our rules.

There is one question

before you,

and one answer is required.

If you try to communicate

with myself or the guard,

you will be disqualified.

If you spoil your paper,


or accidentally,

you will be disqualified.

If you choose to leave this room

for any reason,

you will be disqualified.

Any questions?

Best of luck,

ladies and gentlemen.

We're giving the eight of you

for you to convince us

you have what it takes

to join us,

the next 80 years of your lives.


I'm not finished.



You can't!

This isn't a proper test!

Please, I'll start over.

Just give me a chance.


Listen, listen, listen.


It's not about what he said,

you know.

It's what he didn't say.

"If you attempt," all right,

"to communicate"...

With myself or the guard...

"You will be disqualified. "

He didn't say-

We can't speak to each other.

Now you're talking.

Is this the ultimate mind-f***

or what?

So has anyone figured out

the answer yet?


Because it's not about

the answer.

It's about the question.

What is the question?

We've got 74 minutes left

to figure that out.

Assuming the answer

takes 1 minute to write down.

If it takes

we have 1 minute

to guess the question.

We're short on writing space.

I'm betting it's the former.

We've got to help each other.


We're in competition.

Why should I help you

to beat me?

Well, all right.

We may be in competition

to answer the question,

but to establish

the question,

we have to work together.

We have to cooperate.

They expect us to cooperate,

don't they?

I mean, what did you expect?

That you were gonna win

this job,

with and all the rewards

that come with it,

a job you'd f***ing kill for,

by giving them

a little simple written answer?

Facts and opinions?

Compare and contrast?

No, no.

They're not looking for that.

A job like this, right,

it needs initiative,




He's right.

We're in a stress scenario,

a confusing,

time-critical situation

designed to test

our intelligence and resilience.

To bring out the worst in us,

you mean.

Or the best.

We help each other

until the playing field is open.

And then it's each man

for themselves.

No offense, girls.

Are we agreed?



Let's go, Gandhi.

My name is not Gandhi, friend.



No names in here.

Well, not real ones anyway.

I mean,

it's not written on this.

So there's got to be

a reason for that, hasn't there?

We'll use nicknames then.

Yeah, all right.

Let's make this easy.

We already have numbers.

Yeah, and visual.

You're Black.

I'm White.

You're Brown.

We got Blonde here,

Brunette there.

Dark, I suppose.

And then last as well as least,

we got Deaf.

Tough last round.

Yeah, whatever.

Any objections?

Apart from

your grossly insensitive

sexual and racial


Well, if you're

the sensitive type,

you shouldn't be here, love.

I'll take Brown over Gandhi,

if it gets us talking

about something that matters.

All right,

I'll take that as a yes.

So what else

hasn't he forbidden?

He hasn't forbidden us to stand,

has he?

Well, I guess moving about

is okay too.

What's that going to achieve?

I don't know, Brown,

but sitting wasn't getting us

anywhere exciting, was it?

What if the question

is written down,

and we just can't see it?

- Ah, see, that's what

I'm talking about.

Thank you.

You mean like invisible ink?

Or a watermark.

It's possible.

It's probable, I'd say.

Where else could it be hidden?

We'd need something

to reveal it,

like light.


Those are halogen.

Those aren't.

They won't bite,

you know?

Yeah, they're not gonna

make it that easy, are they?

We're on the clock.

How hard can they afford

to make it?

What if the pencil

isn't just for writing

the answer?

What if it reveals

the question too,

by shading the page,

like tracing paper?

Try it, Blonde.


Remember what he said.

If you spoil your paper,

intentionally or accidentally...

You'll be disqualified.

Now, is anyone certain

they know what his definition

of spoiling is?

Look, come on,

let's crack this, all right?

Throw out some ideas.

What if the questions

are hidden in the paper

but each one is different,

so each of us has to write

a different answer?

He said...

There is one question

before you,

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Stuart Hazeldine

Stuart Hazeldine (born 10 June 1971 in Surrey, England) is a British screenwriter, film producer and director. He is best known for his 2009 psychological thriller Exam, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. He also directed the 2017 film adaptation of William P. Young's novel The Shack. He currently resides in London. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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