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Listening

Year: 2014
Production Co: Listen Film
Director: Khalil Sullins
Writer: Khalil Sullins
Cast: Thomas Stroppel, Artie Ahr, Sarah Marie Bollinger, Steve Hanks

Ultimately it's a better idea than is executed here, but Listening is a great sci-fi concept. Students and buddies David (Thomas Stroppel) and Ryan (Artie Ahr) find themselves on the verge of developing groundbreaking technology that lets the user read someone's mind and prompt thought in them spontaneously by typing them into a computer, but what starts out seeming like a dream descends into a nightmare.

Eventually, through a set of plot contrivances that see them even more broke and desperate than they started out, they're rescued from bankruptcy and jail by a shadowy government organisation that's been following their research closely while trying to crack the same tech itself, led by an appropriately nasty and cold-blooded director.

Of course, being a top secret government organisation they want David and Ryan to develop their incredible tool into a weapon, and the promise of all the resources and money they need to keep working ends up dividing the guys on moral grounds, especially when it's revealed the hot grad student, Jordan (Amber Marie Bollinger), who's been hanging around turns out to be the recruiter working for their new employer.

The race is on for David – considering himself the only good guy left – to undo the damage his invention is set to wreak, and he has the added challenge of having his mind read all the time by the project operators thanks to what he's built.

It does an okay job of explaining the way the characters behave according to the people they are rather than just present two faceless cyphers for a plot. The actors are all earnest and the look of the film is slick and stylish, it just doesn't know what to do with the idea, and whatever ideas it had are lost in the mish-mash they've formed after they're all chucked into the pot together.

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