INTRODUCTION. I avoided reading articles about The East and walked into its EIFF press screening with no expectations at an ungodly hour this morning. The film focuses on the adventures of an undercover security firm agent in an evasive ecoterrorist organization. It is a story about human emotional depth and engagingly tense espionage. Strapped for time? You can find my quick review on the EUFS.
CHARACTERS. Here be women with nerves of steel. Brit Marling’s protagonist defies the stereotype of a curious female spy in trouble by basically kicking ass while displaying an astonishing measure of sentiment. Her determination is made all the more impressive by the trepidation we feel for her, as the helpless audience. The side personas of Page, Clarkson and Kebbell were excellent for doing exactly what supporting characters should: adding breadth and gravity to an already progressive cast dynamic. What delighted me the most however was Alex Skarsgard. I mean yes, he’s terribly pretty, but I applaud his ability to portray a character who inspires equal degrees of sympathy and contempt. Roles in The East have been well written and executed, by moulding to prevailing stereotypes and using them adroitly.
STORY. There is an antagonistic theatrical energy to the titular organization’s conveyance, one that reminded me of a smalltime Anonymous network. As such the plot is intimidatingly concurrent with affairs of our own world. Director Batmanglij sets a tone and pace that primes the screen for its emotional performances while maintaining great suspense… I was on the edge of my seat. Over ecoterrorism. Don’t let the banal film poster fool you, this is a stirring plot- which I will leave free from spoilers. In watching it you will take away a message about environmental politics but at heart The East will have you thinking about what it means to be human, to be part of a community in modern society.
CONCLUSION. Watch it. If you like dramas, corporate espionage and good movies, then you will want to watch this. I appreciated seeing it in the cinema because there was a cathartic quality to sharing the protagonist’s profound changes with a group of strangers. The East is out nationwide in the UK on the 28th of June. I will not be rewatching it so soon but I advise you to.
CHARACTERS: 8.5/10 STORY: 9/10 REWATCH FACTOR: 5/10 OVERALL: 8.5/10