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The East [Blu-ray]

3.8 out of 5 stars 245 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In THE EAST, Sarah Moss (Marling) is a brilliant operative for an elite private intelligence firm whose top objective is to ruthlessly protect the interests of their A-list corporate clientele. She is assigned to go undercover to infiltrate an anarchist collective known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations. Living amongst them in an effort to get closer to their members, Sarah finds herself unexpectedly torn between two worlds as she starts to fall in love with the group's charismatic leader, finding her life and her priorities irrevocably changed.


In Another Earth and Sound of My Voice, Brit Marling has made a big splash as a rising starlet with serious screenwriting chops and a charismatic presence that's only partly based on her ethereal beauty. In The East, a quasi-political thriller that she cowrote with director Zal Batmanglij, she heads a cast of appealing young actors who flesh out a gripping story about a radical cell of eco- and social activists whose operations cause real harm that may or may not be justified. Marling plays Sarah, an undercover agent for a private security firm hired by huge (read: evil) corporations that have been hacked, hit, or targeted by the increasingly damaging antics of the shadowy, off-the-grid operations of the East. First it's an engrossing spy tale as Sarah infiltrates the group, then it takes us deeper into the increasingly ambiguous moral actions of individual members as well as their Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Agra prey. Sarah becomes conflicted about her own allegiance to her employer, a boyfriend who knows nothing about her job, her complicity in the near-terroristic strikes, and the reverse Stockholm Syndrome she experiences as a full-fledged member of the East. Her fidelity to the job (embodied by Patricia Clarkson, wonderful as a mother-like boss who values money more than morals) is seriously undermined by the devotion she sees in the kind, gentle souls who have dedicated their lives to radical change. Foremost among them are the de facto leader, Benji (Alexander Skarsgård), and the fiercely committed Izzy (Ellen Page), both of whom have histories that Sarah discovers gradually and which make them even more nuanced and sympathetic regardless of their overt--or covert--activities. Sarah and Benji believably fall for each other in spite of Sarah's divided loyalties and Benji's nagging suspicions. There's also a sexual tension between Sarah and Izzy, who represent extremes of ideology that move closer together as their individual values are shaken. Apart from its political point of view, which wisely remains fluid right to the end, The East is a terrifically entertaining and suspenseful thriller with real emotional chords, cleverly designed capers, a gifted ensemble cast, and a script that is very smart for its thematic arc as well as its realistic voice. East is east and west is west? Not so much. Orienteering is appropriately skewed by the shattered moral compass of The East. --Ted Fry

Product Details

  • Actors: Brit Marling, Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: September 17, 2013
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DVD5RE2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,130 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Oleson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 17, 2013
Format: 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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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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By Jay on September 9, 2013
Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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.
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