The East (6/10)

The East

Spy on us, we'll spy on you.


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

Title The East
Director Zal Batmanglij
Director of Photography Roman Vasyanov
Runtime 1 h 56 min
Certification PG-13
Release Date 31 May 2013
Tagline Spy on us, we'll spy on you.
IMDb Id tt1869716

The East are an eco-anarchist group undertaking ‘jams’ – eco-terrorist attacks on greedy corporates. Actually, they don’t attack the faceless corporates – they attack their leaders in person, in the belief that an eye-for-an-eye type of revenge will have the most impact.

Sarah (Brit Marling) is an ex-FBI agent, now working for a private intelligence firm, who gets tasked to infiltrate the East. She finds out that The East are led by Benji (Alexander Skarsgård, son of Stellan), who as it turns out has a chip on his shoulder, just like the other members of the group. These jams are not about pure anarchy or ecological ideals – they are personal retributions.

There are echoes of the previous joint work of actress/writer Brit Marling and director Zal Batmangij – Another Earth and Sound of My Voice. Some of this is good, as I enjoyed both those movies – but at the same time they both left me wanting something more – a lot of promise, but they didn’t quite deliver as you hoped for.

Unfortunately in that sense, The East struggles with the same problem. There is plenty of material to work with here and the overall plot is interesting; it is a very watchable movie, but it never gets really tense. And Brit Marling shows her same restrained persona with limited visible emotions. I wonder if she is capable of acting a more passionate and explosive character like for instance Ellen Page’s Izzy in this movie. Let’s hope so.


The East (6/10)
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