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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems


Lau Ching-Wan and Daniel Wu in Overheard

Overheard starts out so deceptively low key that I was just about ready to write off this 2009 Alan Mak/Felix Chong film within the first fifteen minutes. Sure, the stars are in place early on — Lau Ching-Wan, Louis Koo, and Daniel Wu — but none of their onscreen actions really resonate in any palpable way. The film just seems so damn cold and clinical. But then, things start to evolve slowly and meticulously, as you find yourself gradually involved in each characters’ personal dramas — ranging from petty to life-changing to dire. And that’s when the plot kicks into motion.

In the film, Lau Ching-Wan, Louis Koo, and Daniel Wu play cops who do high tech surveillance work for the Commercial Crime Bureau. One day, Gene (Koo) and Max (Wu) capitalize on an  illegal insider stock tip they overhear during a night of eavesdropping. Max erases the tape, but their team leader Johnny (Lau) figures their plan out and tries to bust them. But through a series of events, Johnny is pulled into their little gambit, which eventually pays off lucrative dividends. Unfortunately, the three of them are going to have to outwit both the cops and the crooks if their going to make out with their sizable little “heist.” Somehow, a delightfully out-of-place Michael Wong figures into the story as a nefarious gangster/businessman/philanthropist (!).

The film is engaging from the moment the protagonists make their move on the insider stock tip right up until the last ten minutes of the film when the unthinkable happens. How can this possibly proceed as a Michael Wong film? Well, it does, amounting to a largely satisfying conclusion.

I’m not going to pretend that I understood even half of the stock market jargon in the film, but it’s a credit to filmmakers Mak and Chong for making me feel like it doesn’t really matter. The film moves at a swift pace once the ball starts rolling plot-wise, and it has a lot of interesting things to say about the law, surveillance, and trust.

In baseball parlance, Overheard isn’t an out-of-the-park home run, but it’s a solid double. For a more detailed critique, take a look at Kozo’s review on the main site.


5 Responses to “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems”

  1. CHW Says:

    You liked Overheard? Yeesh. =/

    Did any of the contrivances or cliches bother you at all? Or the weird execution issues?

  2. Calvin McMillin Says:

    Yeah, I did like it, although not enthusiastically.

    What are these contrivances, cliches, and weird execution issues to which you refer — that presumably bothered you?

  3. CHW Says:

    (I thought I posted a fairly lengthy response to your comment a few days ago… where did it go?)

  4. Calvin McMillin Says:

    Sorry about that CHW. Unfortunately, I have been inundated with spam at an unusually high rate — over 1,000 posts in what seemed like a 24 hour period. Your comment must have gotten deleted accidentally. My sincerest apologies for this oversight, especially if you wrote a lengthy response.

    I’m trying to figure out how to filter out more of the spam, but I’ve so been busy with dissertation writing and Christmas shopping that I haven’t had a chance to fix the problem.

    I’ll see what I can do with the blog settings now.


  5. CeeFu Says:

    I agree! When I started watching this I was like, “Really? Is this it?” Then there was some point where I was like, “Oh! Well this just got interesting.” I wrote about it on my blog as well. I thought it was solid too, and these days, I’ll take solid!

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