Friday, August 02, 2013

The East

The East stars Brit Marling as Sarah, an ex-FBI agent, now working for upmarket security company Hiller Brood when her boss (Patricia Clarkson - looking suitably evil) sends her undercover to infiltrate an eco-terrorist group that have been attacking Hiller Brood clients. Displaying admirable field craft she tracks down the group and convinces them to accept her, though only the alpha female (Ellen Page) is suspicious of the wounded blonde new comer. The small bunch of 20 somethings live a somewhat idyllic life in an abandoned house in the woods. Between bonding experiences drawn from college life and new age cults the group plans jams (flamboyant eco-terrorist attacks) for which they are never short of resources.

The surprises and plot twists are effective, though the potential triangle between Sarah, Izzy and eco hunk, Benji (Alexander SkarsgÄrd), is not fully explored. As an intelligent thriller this is in the same company as Edge of Darkness, though it suffers from being too black and white, it could have been improved with some more moral ambiguity. For some reason Brit Marling starts the film looking far too young (say 19) for someone on their second career but ends the film a few weeks later looking like she has aged 10-15 years. Despite this long list of failings the pacing of the film is good and most of these faults are only noticeable retrospectively. The main fault with The East is the wimp-out ending as the credits roll.

Ian's rating 3/5

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