LISTENING – The Review – We Are Movie Geeks


LISTENING – The Review

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Do we really want to know what other people are thinking? Do we want anybody listening in on our thoughts? That possibility is explored in an incredible new, Independent thriller called LISTENING.

David (Thomas Stroppel) and Ryan (Artie Ahr) are graduate students at Cal Tech who are working on the very real possibility of translating human thoughts into computer language. Thus translated other people can “listen” in to our thoughts. They develop hardware and software with equipment borrowed from the University. Unknown to them a shadowy, secret Government agency (is there any other kind?) is working on the same idea.

David and Ryan are both desperately poor, they want their system to work in order to become tech millionaires, or least be able to pay their bills. David and his wife and daughter are due to be evicted, Ryan lives in an efficiency apartment with his Grandmother and has to steal food so they can eat.

Enter a girlfriend for Ryan, Jordan (Amber Marie Bollinger) who helps them with the project. Of course she is not what she seems to be. The project is pitched to money men, word gets out, both tech geeks are expelled and in deep trouble.

Enter the shadowy Government agency who offers them both jobs on their project. The goal? The implanting of hardware in human brains that can read every single thought, eliminating computers, smart phones, and every other tech gizmo we have all become addicted to. And, of course, the end of all human freedom.

David manages to get away to, I’m guessing, Thailand and enters a Buddhist Monastery to learn how to control his thoughts through meditation (hooray for Buddhism!) and returns in order to throw a monkey wrench into the plans for world domination.

I am continually astonished at the smartness and quality of these Independent productions.  I have never seen any of the actors in LISTENING before, and they are all excellent, especially the two leads and the Government characters.  Even minor characters are well written and acted.

This is one science fiction thriller that is way close to being fact.  The techs are right now working on exactly the process we see laid out in LISTENING.

There are echoes of mind control movies all the way back to Electronic Monster, and of course 1984.  The idea of invading another person’s thoughts references DREAMSCAPE and SCANNERS. The hardware and ideas are reminiscent of BRAINSTORM and STRANGE DAYS, the shaved heads and the need to control human thought recalls THX1138. And the ramped up paranoia recalls Darren Aronofsky’s breakthrough film PI. The Government project involves a dog, clearly recalling Pavlov’s famous experiments with thought control.

But LISTENING is its own special animal, smart, edgy, and way too close to what’s happening in our world right now.

I sincerely hope every person involved in LISTENING continues to work regularly in motion picture production.  Especially Director Khalil Sullins and every one of his actors.

This is great stuff folks, I have to give LISTENING 5 out of 5 stars. Catch it in a theater if you can.

LISTENING opens in theaters and On Demand September 11th.

iTunes Pre-order link