116 Min. | Drama – Thriller | June 2013
IMDB Rating: 6.9
Director: Zal Batmanglij
Staring: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page
The East Review: The East is 116 minutes of great acting, wrapped around a twisting (yet predictable) plot of Eco-terrorism, Anarchist mayhem, economic sabotage, and parental rebellion. If Fight Club had began as a hippie movement focused around a Guy Fawkes concept, The East is what it would have been. However, don’t expect an all loving, spiritual awakening type of film, it still rubs raw the ideals and expectations of the naive with brutal truths and discoveries. Zal Batmanglij wrote and directed a great film. While it is not his first outing in the directors chair, it is by far his most well polished work thus far. Brit Marling (“Arbitrage”) plays Jane, an operative for a very deep pocketed elite private investigation firm that is sent out to infiltrate the group as Sarah. What she finds is a well polished and close knit group of like minded people, most of which have a very personal interest in the anarchist movement that is The East.
Alexander Skarsgård (“True Blood”, “Battleship”) completely sheds his inner vampire for this role, and does an extraordinary job portraying Benji, the cautious and scarred Zen like commander of this leaderless pack of renegades. In The East, Ellen Page (“Juno”, “Inception”) takes hold of the reins of Izzy, a protective and very defiant young woman who does not take kindly to the uninvited introduction of Sarah into their little family. The actors do an absolutely outstanding job creating unique and likable characters. From Shiloh Fernandez (“Evil Dead”, “Red Riding Hood”) as Luca, the motherly one of the group who brings Sarah in when she needs medical attention, to Toby Kebbel (“Wrath of the Titans”, “RockNRolla”) as Doc, who struggles with his own physical limitations and provides the medical help that the group sometimes needs.
There are zero weak links in the chain of actors in The East, even the supporting cast all do an outstanding job peeling back the curtains and giving the viewer a glimpse at what it is like to run rampant upon the corporate world with revenge and retribution fueling the fires of well conceived chaos. Most of the film takes place in and around an old half burned down home in the forest, which the group uses as it’s temporary headquarters while the carry out their Jams. In The East, the cinematography is spot on and always finds a way to incorporate the surroundings, whether its peeling wallpaper or horses running across a meadow into the story to keep your eyes entertained and your mind thinking. What is important, what isn’t? It’s a very well conceived film that unspools as a bit of a mystery as you ride along with Sarah as she tries to uncover who trusts who, who might be dangerous, and who is on to you in an adventure you are sure to enjoy.