Synopsis by Mark Deming
A spy discovers a new tool of his trade has put an innocent woman in danger in this political thriller. In the late 1990's, the National Security Agency teams up with a computer software firm, Wendell Crenshaw, to implement a new surveillance technology called Echelon, which will allow intelligence operatives to tap into telephone systems (both cellular and land line) to watch and listen to nearly anyone they choose. Francesca (Maya Sansa), who works at an art gallery in Italy, one day finds a briefcase containing classified documents regarding the Echelon system, and it isn't long before both the NSA and Wendell Crenshaw realize she now has some very damning information in her possession. Ashe (James Parks), a top executive at Wendell Crenshaw, takes it upon himself to find Francesca and use violence to find out what she knows about the contents of the briefcase; James (Michael Parks), an NSA operative, has been following Ashe's actions and is forced to blow his cover and intervene before an innocent woman is killed. Inspired by actual incidents, The Listening was shot in Rome by Italian filmmakers with an English-speaking cast.