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Overheard 3: A study of human greed

"Overheard 3" doesn't have as much dramatic tension as the first two films in the series, but is still worth watching for its thought-provoking storyline.

SINGAPORE: Like the first two films of the series, Hong Kong thriller “Overheard 3” revolves around surveillance, the illicit acquisition of information and looks at how Knowledge is indeed Power, though the setting is quite different this time round.

Helmed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong, who were responsible for the excellent “Infernal Affairs” trilogy, “Overheard 3” is set in the 70s, when the Hong Kong government was attempting to redevelop the New Territories.

Uncle To (Kenneth Tsang), the New Territories' main power broker, hatches a plot to buy up all the land from the locals and redevelop it for immense profit, after receiving insider knowledge of the government’s plans for the area.

Uncle To enlists the help of Keung (Sean Lau) and his sworn brothers Fu (Alex Fong), Paul (Gordon Lam), Chuck (Dominic Lam) and Jau (Louis Koo) to perform the acquisitions.

Jau is asked to kill one of To’s opponents to ensure To’s plan gets carried without a hitch.

When Jau is released years later, after he was jailed for running over To’s opponent with his car, he rejoins Keung and his brothers.

But Jau, now a cripple, returns with a hidden agenda – he wants to help his former lover, To’s daughter Yu, destroy Keung and take over her father’s business, as he found out both men were responsible for the death of their child.

With the help of master hacker Joe (Daniel Wu), whom he met in jail, Jau puts his brothers under surveillance to discover their darkest secrets, and gather evidence of them cheating and coercing landowners to sell them their land.

“Overheard 3” is an intriguing study on human greed and their propensity for revenge.

It is really interesting to watch how Keung and his brothers try to scam the locals into giving up their land, and how Jau carefully collects information on his brothers, then uses it at the most opportune time to essentially ruin their lives.

The filmmakers have done an excellent job crafting the characters in “Overheard 3”, making sure that none of them had clean hands, confronting the audience with a scenario where there is simply no hero to root for.

This encourages the audience to take a closer look at the characters and figure out why they behave the way they do.

As for the acting in the film, Lau oozes charisma and malevolence as Keung, and has a lot of chemistry with his long-time collaborator Koo, resulting in some sizzling scenes between the two over the course of “Overheard 3”.

Wu, on the other hand, doesn’t get much chance to shine. His relationship with Moon (Zhou Xun), the widow of the man Jau killed, is a little underdeveloped.

With interesting characters and a thought-provoking storyline, “Overheard 3” packs enough punch to hold the audiences’ interest, and could be just the film for fans of the genre.

3/5 stars.

“Overheard 3”  is now showing.

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