Sundance Review: The East


Director:Zal Batmanglij

Cast:Brit Marling, Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard, Patricia Clarkson

Running Time:116 Minutes


This is a movie about eco-terrorism. I am not exactly sure how I feel about it yet. Eco-terrorism, that is, not this film. This film rocked shit. Set in present-day America, The East chronicles the tale of an eco-terrorism group that gives back what major corporations give out on a daily basis. Call me crazy, but I don't really mind when the CEO of a big oil company has hundreds of gallons of crude oil dumped through the air vents of his or her house"”especially after they are responsible for trillions of gallons being dumped into various oceans and other bodies of water. This movie skirts that line of acceptable retaliation. 

Brit Marling plays an agent working for a private firm investigating just how dangerous the group that calls themselves "The East" really is. She spends months with the group, taking part in "jams" (their code word for operations carried out in retaliation to various targets) foraging for food, running from cops, taking care of the weaker members, and generally treading dangerous ground.

Parts of this movie were too preachy for their own good, but with a story line such as this one, it can be difficult not to push an agenda of some kind. On the whole, it was framed really well, but the temperature of the movie stayed at a constant freezing degree, even in scenes where it wasn't necessary.  Ridley and Tony Scott were producers on the film, so I suppose some colder shots are to be expected, but it wasn't completely to my liking. Thankfully, the brilliant performances by Marling, Page, and Skarsgard made it difficult to care about anything else"”the whole thing could have been set on the moon, and it wouldn't have deterred from the characters and what they are going through. Definitely not one for date night, but this is definitely one you don't want to miss seeing in theaters.


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