Top critical review
on 30 April 2015
Sharp direction can't do anything to compensate for the woeful self-indulgence of this disjointed mess. The plot -- doubtless cobbled together from Wikipedia searches -- is ostensibly about global intelligence-gathering but gets no further than insulting the viewer's own intelligence with its vapid contention that oh gosh golly, defense contractors rule the roost and the world is in danger from them turning rogue. This kind of witlessness doesn't even look good on paper, let alone on screen, and is all the more irritating here because there are always going to be some gullible folks who actually believe what they see on screen -- a dangerous belief, in this case, seeing as how the movie sidetracks them from considering what real governments of every kind do in the people's name as distinct from what an entirely fictitious Joe Bloggs Inc does if it thinks it has lost a bit of junk technology. Saddled with a portentous pseudo-documentary voice-over that serves only to make the movie even more ludicrous than it already is, 'The Listening' remains deaf to reality throughout its running time and about as entertaining as watching paint dry. As to the actor Michael Parks: apparently Quentin Tarantino likes him. So that explains it then.