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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars for another fine film with rising star Brit Marling
I first caught actress and screenwriter Brit Marling in a movie called "Another Earth" from a couple years ago. Shortly thereafter she shows up in "Sound of My Voice." In both cases she plays quiet, thoughtful young women with complicated personalities. "The East" is her best role and her best film. She plays an FBI-trained agent who is working for a private security...
Published 15 months ago by M. Oleson

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Half Baked
The plot holes here are enormous. Numerous things happen that just leave you shaking your head saying, "no way". Around those is a drama that has a weird spacious quality to it and just enough dramatic tension to keep you watching, ala the other Brit Marling filns that i've seen. But, it builds up to an unsatisfying ending.

This type of contrived and...
Published 10 months ago by Scott McFarland


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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars for another fine film with rising star Brit Marling, July 17, 2013
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This review is from: The East [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I first caught actress and screenwriter Brit Marling in a movie called "Another Earth" from a couple years ago. Shortly thereafter she shows up in "Sound of My Voice." In both cases she plays quiet, thoughtful young women with complicated personalities. "The East" is her best role and her best film. She plays an FBI-trained agent who is working for a private security firm headed by Sharon (Patricia Clarkson), a no BS CEO.

Sarah/Jane is given the task of infiltrating an eco-terrorist group known as The East. This is a big step up in Sarah's career and she relishes the assignment. She's very good at her job and manages to get inside the secret group, which is headed by Benji (Alexander Skarsgard) an heir to a fortune, but ultimately disillusioned by corporate greed. Ellen Page plays Izzy and like Benji, she seeks payback for corporate atrocities is necessary even if lives are at stake.

While this sounds pretty cut and dry, Sarah using the alias Jane, begins to see the other side and why The East feel they must do what they do. Evidence exists to see polluted lakes and water sources. Drug companies produce unsafe compounds with little repercussions. So now in most films, we would expect Sarah/Jane to flip sides, but Marling and her co-writer and director Zal Batmanglij don't make it so simple.

Even after Sarah and Benji play advanced kissy-face, things aren't so easy for Sarah. Without giving away too much, Sarah must ultimately come up with her own plan. This movie had me switching sides multiple times and Marling's performance is the reason. This is a very good film and like Marling's earlier film efforts, likely won't get much attention. Do yourself a favor and find it.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please Listen., September 9, 2013
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I'm not a movie critic, so I don't know the technical operations of filming and I can guess that most people watching movies don't either. Therefore, this is simply based on my experience of seeing The East. I love a movie that can open a hole into my mind and inflict the question of how I am living my life- leaving me with a sting of the truth and the mixed feelings of someone who is on the brink of acting to correct those choices and someone who is unsure about leaving behind the comfort of what is familiar. Though the consistent opinions of this film not having a lot of action is true; it in no way lacks the reality that life does not happen in a constant motion, but draws in inconsistent flourishes- enhancing, for me, the ability to grow with the plot, as well as allowing me time to think about the overall picture. I got attached to the characters, felt their emotions, and could sympathize with their motives. Sure, it sucks when you have to buy a movie you aren't sure about, but I took a leap of faith and ended in an unexpected place- which is exactly where I wanted to be. The East brought me a subject I cared about, led me to follow my gut, asked me where I would turn right from wrong, and called me to really look at what's happening around me, us. I hope you too are searching for a movie with purpose- because this is it. So just Watch and...
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another tour-de-force from Brit Marling in entertaining thriller, July 11, 2013
This review is from: The East (DVD)
"The East" (2013 release; 116 min.) brings the story of Sarah Moss (played by Brit Marling). As the movie opens, a TV report comes on regarding the latest "eco-terrorist" attack by an outfit called The East, and we then see Sarah in discussions with the CEO (played by Patricia Clarkson) of Hiller Brood, a high-end security/intelligence firm. Sarah is tasked to go undercover and infiltrate The East, to gather up as much information as possible, and eventually bring this eco-terrorist cell down. Sarah manages very quickly to infiltrate the group and becomes part of it, eventually becoming close to the leader of them, Benji (played by Alexander Skarsgård). At this point we're not even half-way into the movie, but to reveal more this plot-heavy film would surely ruin your viewing experience. You'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: this movie is brought by the same "team" that brought you last year's "Sound Of My Voice", with Zal Batmanglij as director and co-writer and Brit Marling as co-writer and co-producer (and of course co-starring). In fact there are a number of scenes in "The East" that reminded me immediately of "Sound of My Voice", when the cell does some "group bonding" but in reality it feels more cult-like. This is supposed to be a political thriller, but to me some of the 'bad stuff' that Big Pharma is accused of seems over-simplistic (chemical dumping every day at exactly 3 o'clock!). The movie is far more effective as a psychological thriller: will Sarah fall for Benji? Even the Hiller Brood CEO recognizes the danger ("we understand it's quite natural to bond, but don't ever get soft"). And who is playing/setting up who exactly? That tension plays strongly in the last 45 min. of the movie, with a couple of plot twists I hadn't expected (and that is not a complaint!). I suppose I should mention that both Alexander Skarsgård and Ellen Page are part of The East group, but in reality I felt a bit sorry for them and the other performers, as they are simply blown away on the screen by Brit Marling. She seems to get better and better (last year in "Sound of My Voice" and equally excellent in "Arbitrage" in that Ivanka Trump-reminding role, and earlier this year in a smaller role in Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep"). She is still not even thirty! Last but not least, any movie that plays The National's "About Today" in its soundtrack (it plays at a key moment in the second half), is quite alright in my book!

The screening I saw this at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati in late June, was surprisingly well attended, I'm happy to say. If you are in the mood for a quality indie movie that is miles away from your standard Hollywood fare, you cannot go wrong with this. "The East" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life's choices are not black or white, September 25, 2013
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I really liked this movie for various reasons. It didn't put graphic sex and gore in your face. It was thought provoking, allowing us to see all sides of human emotion and choices. It was very difficult to get angry at the actions of the extremists, albeit their methods of protesting, and you applaud the heroine's actions in the end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The questions of our times, September 22, 2013
By 
F. Greenlee (Blacksburg, VA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The East (Amazon Instant Video)
I don't usually review movies, but this one had me questioning everything about the world around me, and the worlds inside me. If you're a caring person of the type that feels the need to turn over every stone you come across to try to find the truths hidden underneath (AND you have a STRONG stomach), this movie was made for you. Just don't make the mistake I made and try to watch this while eating dinner! I may never eat again. I feel just a little more separated from the organizations, of many kinds and many perspectives, that exist within the current human condition. It can be a lonely place to be, as this movie's protagonist learns in the hardest possible way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Freeganism & being a Hiller Brood operative, June 29, 2014
This review is from: The East (DVD)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's always great to be pleasantly surprised..., November 8, 2013
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This review is from: The East (Amazon Instant Video)
I had never heard of this movie, and my wife and I were doing the usual "walking down the video store isles" on Amazon.com on my ROKU and read the 2 sentences about this one and decided to rent it. Strong acting, convincing story line, the classic antagonist becomes protagonist (or maybe flip that), good character development, informative and motivating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Thriller with a Cause!, October 20, 2013
By 
Sparrow (Marin County, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The East (Amazon Instant Video)
I applaud filmmakers who are bringing the issue of gross corporate irresponsibility to the fore -- a courageous and much needed effort! The East is a passionate film, casting is excellent, and the film has a great twist (or two). Entertaining, superbly acted, and a tense thriller. Recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely relevant and well crafted film., October 13, 2013
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This review is from: The East (Amazon Instant Video)
Finally, an American film that is extremely relevant, and also well crafted. Excellent characterization, suspense, pacing and a plot that presents real problems in mainstream America. It is extremely difficult to have all these things presented at once in a film. One of the best films I have seen in years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguingly Off-beat yet relevant espionage Mystery/thriller!!, April 7, 2014
This review is from: The East (DVD)
I had never heard of this film before – but was very impressed when I watched it on DVD recently. Intriguing story about a secret Security firm operative that goes undercover to determine the true intentions of a potential ‘Eco-extremist’ group known as ‘the East’ (and undermine their plans – but did she get in too deep……..?)

This is one of those movies where writing too much in your review will tend to reveal key aspects of this continually unwinding and impossible to predict story! One of the strengths of this film is that it constantly keeps you guessing – yet also provides intriguing (and even realistic) resolutions.

Brit Marling is the real standout = as both Lead actress whose performance really carries this film + she also co-wrote the script! The always solid Ellen Page provides superlative back-up!

This is a complex, intense, relevant and compelling film - although a bit offbeat – and not mainstream by any means – it is also surprising that Director Zal Batmanglij made this film for under $7 million, and produced by the great Ridley Scott (amazingly made on such a modest budget = since it is more thought-provoking than most Hollywood films costing 10x as much!).

The East = locate and watch it, before it disappears into the shadows!
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The East [Blu-ray]
The East [Blu-ray] by Brit Marling (Blu-ray - 2013)
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