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4.1 out of 5 stars
The East [DVD]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I caught this rather interesting thriller late one evening cable. There is no point in regurgitating the whole plot here. However, the premise is as follows -Our main protagonist Jane is an operative for a private intelligence firm Hiller Brood, and is assigned by her boss Sharon to infiltrate `The East' an underground anarchist co -operative who plan and carry out covert actions against corporations in an effort to bare/reveal their corruption and negligence. In her undercover role, and in-line with the ethos of the anarchist cell, she practices Freeganism. This entails the eating of recovered/eating food that has been thrown away. As Jane gets to know the group, her views are shown to change, as she is not immune to the cells message as well as the individual narratives of the group members. As the plot progresses there some rather interesting twists and turns to the story.

For me there lots of symbolism in this film, some of which is quasi-religious such as the set up involving straight-jackets, where by, each member feeding each other as they are unable to feed themselves. It is interesting to note that Brit Marling - who plays Jane in the film, experienced first-hand how to hop trains and learned to sleep rough as well as practicing Freeganism. The East, is no espionage film as we know it and Jane uses the same field craft - disguise, tools of spy craft and a legend that holds up to the scrutiny of the cell. This is film whether you like it or not it raises many questions. The cell's attack on a pharmaceutical company that sells flawed and dangerous medicine - is part based on a drug company that touted medication that lead to a number of suicides amongst patients that used it. This an unusual thriller it is not the state but rather big business are the culprits, a film worthy of a good four stars in my estimation - it's not perfect by an means but it is very thought provoking.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2014
A group of eco terrorists called "The East" is attacking executes from companies harming the environment. Sarah Moss (Brit Marling) is sent to undercover to infiltrate in the group and learn their next moves.

Sarah manages to become one of the group's members but she begins developing feelings for the members and she has a romantic relationship with the leader.

She has to decide if she will betray the company she works for or the people from The East group.

In conclusion: the film is worth seeing because it is a good thriller.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2013
We are watching you, Zal Batmanglij. His first film as writer-director, Sound of My Voice, was a beautifully concise, thought-provoking dive into the psychology of the cult. While not quite up to the standard of that film, The East covers similar socially-conscious ground with similarly intriguing results.

Brit Marling returns, this time as the undercover operative entering the group, here an anarchist-freeganist party calling themselves The East, who punish the CEOs of unethical megacorporations in the manner of the companies' crimes. What could have been an arrow-straight case of the ultra-conservative corporate agent revealing her nice lefty side is made complicated by the fact that Sarah uncovers dubious motives and behaviour on both sides. The East is most successful when it is smearing the black and white and making it grey.

It is least successful when it wears its polemics on its sleeve. The straight-up ethical debate scenes, while laudable in their content, can come across as preachy. Although it doesn't outright demonise anyone, it's pretty clear where the filmmakers' sympathies lie, and at times an air of sanctimony undermines the drama.

But this shouldn't detract from what the film does really well. When the script is focused and flowing, it's absolutely gripping, and exquisitely detailed - a throwaway line often paints a detailed picture, without recourse to plodding backstory. There are no dud performances from the cast. And, aesthetically, the film has the same dusky atmosphere that made its predecessor so seductive.

This is recommended for those looking for an evocative, twisting, dense, and serious thriller. Just be ready for the arguments afterwards.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Sarah (Brit Marling) is an FBI agent tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group targeting corporate CEOs. This isn't the typical FBI which stops groups from performing terrorists acts before they happen, or arrests them when they can, but that Hollywood FBI which allows terrorists to hurt people and then maybe arrest them after they hurt some more. The anarchists are personal victims of the companies they go after. Sarah begins to sympathize with the group which leads to an anti-climatic ending which I could have written better myself.

I had really enjoyed the film up until the ending. Ellen Page turned in a good performance, but for the most part, I thought the tale was a tad on the lackluster side. Seriously, who is shocked that drugs are unsafe (Tylenol) or poisons are dumped into water? We did see "Rude Awakening."

Parental Guide: No F-bombs. Brief sex, male rear nudity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is an intriguing political thriller which explores the ethics underlying a private surveillance company as it uses a talented ex-FBI operative to infiltrate an eco-terrorist organisation. Brit Marling gives an assured performance as the said operative who begins to develop ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ despite not being a hostage and gradually becoming aware that the concerns of the group are valid. The film is condemning of amoral capitalism and presents a welcome liberal perspective worthy of John Sayles. The narrative is intelligent, tense and poses questions which remind us of the possible logical consequences of light-touch regulation in the private sector. Undoubtedly though-provoking but also an enjoyable movie with quality acting and cinematography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2015
This film was unexpectedly good and thought provoking! I added it to my rental list a while ago and it seems to be a bit of an unknown film. I was sceptical about how good it would be but was pleasantly suprised. It has elements of suspense and thriller in it and kept me hooked throughout. I don't know how much fact, if any, this is based on but it certainly made me think about the world we live in and how large companies profit and how ethical this might be. Really recommend it for those of you who enjoy suspense, thriller, environmental films.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2014
Great movie and an interesting one too! Well directed and with a very good and nailed cast. I imagine the subject wasn't very much "welcomed", that's why it disappeared quite soon from the movie theaters, at least in my country ...... same old, same old, when someone speaks the truth it always uncomfortable ;)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2014
A well written screenplay and brilliantly understated acting by Brit Marling . A most unusual plot but one that was riveting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2014
I wasn't expecting to like this movie, and was admittedly watching it because I think Shiloh Fernandez is brilliant, but it really surprised me. I rally loved it. There were sweet parts, sad, angry...everything. Seriously worth a viewing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 December 2013
Like Another Earth, and The Sound of my Voice this is another thought provoking and smart story from the very talented Brit Marling and her collaborators.

Riveting and very well acted from beginning to end this story is very relevant to today and yet remains small and very human

Highly recommended for people with a brain and a soul.
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