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.


Film Review : Gimme the Loot (2012)

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IMDB Score – 6.3
Tomato Score – 92%

Directed By : Adam Leon
Starring : Ty Hickson and Tashiana Washington

This is the description from IMDB of the plot to “Gimme the Loot”…

When their latest work is buffed by a rival crew, two determined graffiti writers embark on an elaborate plan to bomb the ultimate location: the New York Mets’ Home Run Apple.

This film has nothing to do with any of that. I have no idea why not only is this the plot description on IMDB but also the description which led me to watch it on Netflix. This however is not a bad thing. I ended up loving the film overall. The film really is about the relationship between two friends in inner city Brooklyn. The two are graffiti partners who for the first ten minutes or so scheme to tag the stupid apple that pops out of Shea stadium. The film then branches off into a whole other type of film. Leon didn’t have a huge budget to work with but made up for it with long takes of conversation and utilizing the great performances from the two leads. Hickson and Washington act like they’ve known each other for years and that they really are just going about their days. It’s in their performances that really sell the film and kept me involved.

The films plot however takes a huge dive towards the end and branches off into romanticland for what seems like no reason whatsoever other than to end the film. I horrible/great part about this is that it all occurs at the very end and doesn’t really deter from the overall experience unless you love nice little bows on top of your presents.

The film is one of the most realistic and convincing portrayals of what life is like in NYC. Way worth the 79 minute run time on Netflix.