Saturday, August 1, 2009

'Overheard' - Top notch action thriller from the makers of 'Internal Affairs'

Directors: Felix Chong, Alan Mak
Cast: Lau Ching Wan, Daniel Wu, Louis Koo, Zhang Jinchu, Alex Fong, Michael Wong

With that star studded cast–led by the always reliable Lau Ching Wan–and direction from the makers of Infernal Affairs, Overheard was a lock to be better than the usual standard Hong Kong crime thrillers. It's great news for audiences and the Hong Kong film industry as a whole that Overheard is a thoroughly engrossing tale that's not only a crime story but a character study.

Johnny Leung (Lau Ching Wan), Gene Yeung (Louis Koo) and Max Lam (Daniel Wu) are three cops assigned by the Criminal Intelligence Bureau to monitor the office of a successful trading company. Under surveillance 24/7, the three are to pick apart any suspicious activity. When Gene and Max pick up details of a boost in company share, they withhelod the information due to greed and invest in the stocks themselves. It isn't long until Johnny realizes this and a dilemma is set: does he do the right thing or does he go along with the plan?

Before we paint Gene and Max as greedy, corrupt cops, the film sheds light into the lives of each cop and through these scenes, we empathise with these characters. Perhaps if we were in their shoes we would have done the same thing.

Of course, with the company backed by a dangerous businessman (Michael Wong), things get ugly for the trio and the predicament snowballs out of control. If there's one gripe with Overheard it's that it lacks a traditional climax. The tension picks up early in the film and it just stays there. But the top notch production values, smart script, witty dialogue (especially by Louis Koo's hilarious character) and the strong acting all around makes up for it.

Overheard opens in cinemas: Hong Kong July 30th


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