The East Review
How far would you go to do what was right? How far would you go to prove what you believe in? There are many people out there who have very passionate beliefs on religion, politics, even movies. I have have seen many civil discussions gone terribly wrong, ending in feud. I think it takes a lot for a person to fight, literally fight for what they believe in. And honestly, "fighting" means something different to all of us. But what I am talking about is it takes a lot for someone to get violent about what they believe in, not afraid to take lives. I mean look at the catastrophe of 9/11 and the pain that it has caused.
"The East" tells the story about a group of Eco-terrorists who are beginning to gain traction in our country. To counter this group production, a secret intelligence firm Hiller-Brood recruits Sarah Moss (Brit Marling). Moss is a former FBI agent who is good at what she does. She is hired to infiltrate the Eco-terrorists, which calls itself The East. What I love about this movie is the look and feel of the Eco-group. The costumes and appearances are top-notch. The terrorists really do look like a group of tense tree-huggers. But that's not exactly what they are. They are willing to kill, they plan to leave scars, and Moss is trying to find out what their next big hit is going to be.
"The East" is a fast-paced thriller, something Hitchcock would have absolutely loved. I love that it isn't biased toward one philosophy, that it tries to leave you open-minded about its message. Too many times, political thrillers try to get its audience to think one way. Not here in "The East," it gives you certain information and certain insight and you make your own decision. The decision Moss' character makes probably isn't what you would expect, and it was that uncertainty that truly won me over.
What also won me over was how well the cast is. Brit Marling is unbelievable, incredibly unbelievable. If you remember recently, I wrote a "Overlooked Film of the Week," review of "Another Earth," a film which also starred Marling. She was great in that, and she is great again. I couldn't believe that she not only acted but co-wrote and co-produce this movie along with director Zal Batmanglij (Yes, the guy has BATMAN in his name!). Time will only tell how truly talented she is but she is off to a blazing start. The film also stars Alexander Skarsgaard, who plays the leader of The East, he does wonderful work.
The films only low-point is Ellen Page. I am not a huge fan of hers. I thought she was very weak in "X3" and I outright hated "Juno." I tried to avoid any of her work like the plague and I cannot say I was impressed with her here. She comes off like such a blank canvass to me. She plays an older member of The East and the moments she supposed to step up and be authoritative...it really just comes up short. However, her presence did not derail the picture to me in any way.
Overall, with strong performances, realistic cinematography, clever writing and an ending I did not completely see coming, "The East" delivers. Its not only a great movie, its is easily one of the highlights of the year for me. Check this out on DVD right now.
FINAL GRADE: A