"You're trying to read the contents of an entire library by walking through the aisles. You gotta open the books to know what's really going on inside."
What if someone else could read your mind? Does that thought scare you off? Or can you see some perspectives and opportunities in this technology? And how long would it take before a government would order their secret service to focus on it and obtain the required technology? Before you know it, you're in the middle of a "Big Brother" situation. You're not only monitored visually, but also your personal thoughts are intercepted. Or worse, a certain dictatorial mindset is being penetrated into your consciousness. Every power-hungry nutcase starts drooling after seeing this method. That's the basic idea of "Listening". A technological innovation with far-reaching effects mixed with a personal crisis.
Ultimately, my general feeling about "Listening" is of a disappointed nature. The film had so much potential and opportunities, but because of some faint situations and a fairly implausible denouement, it's reduced to a laudable attempt. Let there be no doubt, the original idea is far from bad. A revolutionary development in the neurological sector, realistically portrayed with an abundance of technical equipment and commented upon in a complicated jargon. Although the latter tends to sound like outright gibberish sometimes. Could this technology be achieved in reality, this clearly would lead to the bankruptcy of the mobile telephony industry.
Most of the scenes take place in a messy garage. However, these are the most compelling fragments in this film. Also they used a remarkable wide range of colors. The various chapters are filmed in a different flashy color. This requires some adjustment and it started me worrying about the color scheme of my television. Every time a blue, red or yellow fragment appeared, I checked my settings. But in the end this gave the film its own personal touch. The disadvantage of a low-budget film is of course the low budget (how surprising) what leads to a limited use of stunning visual effects. This becomes abundantly clear with the stereoscopic images during a telepathic connection.
The only things remaining are the characters and the philosophy behind the story. The core idea behind the story is crucial in order to make a low-budget movie successful. If it doesn't look impressive, the story must be intriguing enough to make it interesting. As I said earlier, the idea was interesting enough and had plenty of material to provoke discussions. I can imagine that this will be debated widely.
Unfortunately, the whole is a bit weakened by the poor worked-out personal problems that David (Thomas Stroppel) and Ryan (Artie Ahr) are facing. There are also a few illogical things and there are some unfortunate developments. I thought it was a bit cheap that the first used telepathic thoughts were of an erotic nature. An attempt to substantiate the theory that a man is thinking about that, most of the time? And the fact that an ancient Buddhist meditation method is able to withstand this high-tech magic, was a bit too easy. And safety precautions during the grand finale were a joke. But besides these tiny flaws, this was a not so unkind cyberpunk movie.
Review by Peter Pluymers from the Internet Movie Database.