Film Review : The East (2013)

IMDB Score – 6.9
Rotten Tomato Score – 75%

Directed By – Zal Batmanglij
Starring – Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, and Patricia Clarkson

An operative for an elite private intelligence firm finds her priorities changing dramatically after she is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations.

I was really meaning to catch this in theaters earlier this year but ending up procrastinating like I usually do and missing it. I’m sorry I did. I would have loved to contribute to this film in a box office way because I really am a huge fan of anything Brit Marling puts her hands on. She’s gifted as an actress but I just love her writing style as all three of her films that she’s had a hand in now have been great.

The East is set up like your typical run of the mill political thriller. Marling’s last film Sound of My Voice focused on the functions and routines of cult culture and she picks up where she left off when we are first introduced to the left wing activist group called The East. Skarsgård plays the enigmatic leader whom almost resembles Marlings’ cult leader in her previous film. The difference between this film and other political thrillers however is a great sense of pacing and character development. I think there is a difference between giving a hefty amount of backstory on a character and just building an emotional bond with one. The East achieves the latter. The characters we are introduced to blossom into people that we care about when the story progresses for good and for bad. The group that we are supposed to be viewing as an antagonist group becomes the focal point and driving point of the story and it was very interesting seeing where it all went.

Like Sound of My Voice and the criminally under watched Another Earth, The East is a smart ambiguous piece of writing that while lacks a bit on the acting side (nothing really to write home about, just nothing spectacular) is a fully successful thriller and covers serious issues that could be applied to society today. I’m going to be looking forward to Brit Marlings next film, and the next one, and so forth.


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