Another stereotyped, killer lesbian comes out of the closet in the glossy but witless LISTEN, a slicked-up thriller that does everything it can to confuse viewers on the way to an all-too-predictable climax.
Krista (Sarah G. Buxton) has recently returned to San Francisco after a year in Vermont where she was recovering from a nervous breakdown, brought on when her lover Sarah (Brooke Langton) broke up with her. Bisexual Sarah is now seeing writer Jake (Gordon Currie). When deadline pressures keep Jake
busy (and affect his sexual performance even when they are together), Sarah finds a new hobby: listening in via her cellular phone to someone in her building with a penchant for phone sex. When the caller makes an appointment to meet his phone partner, Sarah and Krista go to spy on them. They
glimpse only the woman, whom they see later that night coming out of Sarah's apartment building with sleazy neighbor Randy (Joel Wyner). When the woman is murdered by a serial killer, the women report Randy. But he has airtight alibis, and the police release him. Looking for building
superintendent Curtis Farley (Jeff Burnett), Sarah enters his apartment and sees evidence indicating that he is the killer. Farley sees her leaving; by the time the police arrive, he has hanged himself. Belatedly realizing that Farley, who was deaf, could not have been the caller, Sarah confronts
Randy. The police arrive just as Randy is attacking her, and shoot him dead.
Despite a recent evening in Krista's bed, Sarah moves in with Jake. While Krista is visiting, she finds a secret phone and evidence of Jake's phone sex addiction. Jake arrives and tries to explain, while Krista threatens him with a gun; when he doesn't back off, she kills him. As Sarah weeps,
Krista plants evidence in the room. Krista, it is revealed, killed the prostitutes Jake was visiting in order to get him out of the way so that she could have Sarah to herself.
The above synopsis is more linear than the actual plot of LISTEN, which has the intensely annoying habit of withholding critical information from viewers in order to keep the "mystery" going (the final, crucial revelation is made in voice-over narration by the character of Krista). Not that it's
much of a mystery; the ending is apparent from the very first scene, which only makes the script's clumsy parade of red herrings all the more irritating. Absolutely nothing about the film rings true. (One particularly glaring example: why doesn't Sarah recognize the mysterious phone voice as that
of the man she is thinking of marrying?) The uniformly thickheaded characters range from merely dislikable to wholly repellent, and it's bitterly ironic that San Francisco is used as the setting for a story featuring such egregious lesbian stereotypes. Adding insult to injury is the aforementioned
final voice-over that explains to us in unnecessary detail the meaning of the finale, as if LISTEN's viewers were as stupid as its script. (Graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Another stereotyped, killer lesbian comes out of the closet in the glossy but witless LISTEN, a slicked-up thriller that does everything it can to confuse viewers on the way to an all-too-predictable climax. Krista (Sarah G. Buxton) has recently returned… (more)