The premise for Overheard is pretty simple. The three leads play police officers who are experts in electronic surveillance. They are assigned to a case of suspected insider stock trading. A month goes by and nothing significant has been intercepted. The three are bored and morale is low when they overhear the management’s plan to boost the share price. Hence the movie title ‘Overheard’, when this is brought into action the film is brought into full swing as the two decide to make the most of this opportunity and buy heavily on the company’s shares with a huge sum of money borrowed from a loan shark.
The acting was pretty good and convincing however Daniel Wu’s character, Max, was terribly underused. He basically disappeared in the second half of the film. But all three male leads were extremely believable as buddies who’d stick to one another through thick and thin. Tautly written and deftly acted by the three leads, I could empathise with them, and sort of understood the path they went down. Needless to say all these have fans of their own. They are Asia’s leading male leads and the characters are well depicted in what can be described as a melodrama.
The movie is pretty well written, good dialogue, etc. it even has some social commentary on Hong Kong’s investment culture. Sadly, the script then makes a wrong turn. Instead of allowing this plot to unfold, it is shelved half-way through the film and becomes a side-plot to a criminal conspiracy involving murder, kidnapping, and revenge, rendering the film. Some may take offense at the way the film ended, and it really is one of those films that you will either love or hate but nonetheless will generate discussion.
A number of tense scenes around whether a secret will be unearthed feel very much like similar scenes in Infernal Affairs, which if you know anythign about Hong Kong cinema, is regarded as one of the ebst movies of the genre. The heart of the film lies in the characters whom we feel so strongly for in their predicaments. If you believe the storyline then you will believe in this movie so they really put all the chips on the actors. It’s impact without violence and war without words. Overheard is easily the most morally ambiguous Hong Kong movie to get the thumbs up from me in quite a few months. The plot escalates nicely, holding back its major villain until proceedings are well advanced. As a whole, it is a very nice package with very few faults that you should check out and enjoy.