These days criminals come in all shapes and sizes. The worst part is they are almost always unidentifiable; unless you know where and how to look. If you have the connections and know how you can find anyone anywhere. Some criminals steal a wallet or break into a home; others take advantage of billions of people even killing some in the process. They will make their fortunes at the cost of anything and anyone. They do not care and for the sake of us all it will take action to create a change in how things work. For the group known as “The East”, the basic rule is “An eye for an eye.”
The East is considered a group of extremist Eco- terrorists who create havoc for those who they consider harmful to the planet and the people inhabiting the same planet. It is their self- made mission to attack three major corporations within a year in order to create awareness among the masses that these corporations are in it for themselves and will sacrifice whoever they must to reach their goal. The rich only have the goal of making themselves wealthier than the day before. After monitoring this group of Eco extremists a highly elite security company sends in an undercover agent to infiltrate this group and discover what they have planned. This security company protects many of the clients that this group is attacking and so they send in Sarah (Brit Marling) to hopefully discover and possibly foil their plans.
Unfortunately for this security company, time is against them. Every moment that passes in another moment that shows Sarah the true nature of things and how in many ways this group is in the right; these companies must be held accountable. Eventually Sarah will be faced with a decision; will she expose and lock up this group? Or will she help take these corporations of money hungry monsters down? In the beginning she thought she knew true north; as she sees the atrocities these companies are committing she begins to see that maybe true north is a little more east.
I have to say that my interest in this seemed to waver quite a bit as the trailer didn’t really show what kind of movie this wanted to be. Is it a horror film, a political drama? I thought I would give it a chance regardless and I have to say that it came out pretty decent. I feel that certain aspects could have been altered a bit such as the relationship between Sarah and Benji (Alexander Skarsgard) was too much the focus of the film. I think it should have focused more on her relationship with the entire group and her acceptance of things to come. While this is addressed more often than not it focuses on this physical attraction between Sarah and Benji. I just felt that it was unneeded filler to create a longer running time. Her moral dilemma should be whether she will join this group or take them down, not does she love this hippie.
This showcases some decent performances from some both familiar faces and new ones; such as Ellen Page who plays Izzy, the gung-ho activist without fear; when things go bad she starts to show her true face which is filled with fear. As mentioned before Brit Marling is in the lead, her name may not be familiar but she has starred in such films as Another Earth (Great film), The Company You Keep as well as the T.V. comedy series Community. I also must mention that not only does she star but also helped write the screenplay for The East. Alexander Skarsgard is the sort- of leader of The East as well as the useless love interest to Sarah; he of course must have a shirtless scene… or ten. I think that’s in his contract or something.
In the end what could have been a great commentary on the current nature of how things work in the world of big business and how it affects people both positively and negatively ends up being kind of unsure in its finality. Nothing is really accomplished at least in a way that can be considered a good result. People die and it doesn’t really matter, it should though. This was a decent enough film but it has a lot of problems keeping it from being even remotely memorable.
I just wanted to add that Ridley Scott as well as his late brother Tony Scott helped as producers of the film. In a way this was Tony’s last film before his untimely passing, I’m glad and saddened that I can say I saw the last project he was involved in. He was a filmmaker I truly admired and looked up to and will miss his work greatly, RIP Sir.
Rated PG-13 for: thematic elements, violence, some disturbing images, sexual content and partial nudity
Run Time: 116 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson
Directed By: Zal Batmanglij
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3.5/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 2.5/ Visuals: 3
OVERALL: 3 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below: