I freely admit that I have a fanboy crush on Brit Marling, not only is she a beautiful and talented actress, she is also an amazing screenwriter and I’m a huge fan of her previous efforts ANOTHER EARTH (2011) and THE SOUND OF MY VOICE (2012).
THE EAST continues her streak as one of the best and most consistent writers working in film today and she’s a big inspiration to me as a screenwriter.
After tackling two films with shades of science fiction, she works with much more grounded fare in her third.
THE EAST finds Sarah Moss (Brit Marling) working for an elite private intelligence firm run by the ethically challenged Sharon (Patricia Clarkson). Sarah has been tasked to infiltrate an ecological terrorist group known as “The East’ in order to take them down.
The East has been taking revenge on large corporations for their crimes against humanity and trying to put a human face and price on their illicit activities.
The film wallows in the grey areas of this issue. What these corporations are doing is inhuman, but do two wrongs make a right?
Sarah is caught directly in the middle of the moral quandary and she’s in fear of losing her soul in a fight between what is essentially Scylla and Charybdis.
THE EAST is an intelligent film with an emotional complexity that raises it above most thrillers. The cast is up for the challenge with supporting roles portrayed by Alexander Skarsgård as Benji, the charismatic leader of The East and Ellen Page as the emotionally scarred Izzy who has her own personal agenda to wrestle with.
Engaging and thought provoking the film succeeds, but unfortunately lacks a certain tension at times and plays more like a drama in the guise of a thriller. But it’s a minor complaint as Director Zal Batamanglij (THE SOUND OF MY VOICE) does a great job keeping the plot moving forward and pulling us in to the moral dilemma.
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