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“The East” – Review (POSITIVE)

July 3, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 1.25.14 PMThis was a movie I was lucky enough to see at this years Sundance Film Festival, and yet, I somehow overlooked this to even write a review 6 months ago. Probably because I was bedridden with the flu. Needless to say, this was a great thriller, and an entertaining watch for anyone who’s fans of Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgård, and/or Brit Marling (who co-scripted the film).

A successful operative named Sarah works for an elite private intelligence firm, has been tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations, the group calls themselves ‘The East’. However, Sarah finds her priorities changing as she befriends the members and begins to develop romantic feelings for its charismatic leader, Benji (Skarsgård).

This film attempts to test limits about the actions of internal terrorism groups. Terrorism in general is a touchy subject in a post-9/11 world and getting away with it in a prominent way can also be a difficult task. “The East” tests us in a lot of ways, what is consider right and wrong, by committing one action is it in the end for the greater good or for self-gratification?

The actual ‘East’ group attack organizations that have committed acts of ‘eco-danger’; a pharmaceutical company releasing a drug that has life threatening side effects and a mining company that dumps toxic waste into a small towns water supply. Now, you may think that retaliating in rash ways could seem somewhat logical for such a terrorist group, however as we learn each member of ‘The East’ has a connection to these companies. We’ve gone from a ‘doing it for the greater good’ to ‘personal vendetta’. Where does the line cross?

“The East” may leave some viewers split on it’s actions and decisions of it’s main characters, and the end result will leave people split about the moral ambiguity, but that’s why I liked the film. The performances are sound, especially Ellen Page, overall I’d recommend this as a watch, theatrical or simply as a rental. I like movies like “The East” that leave you asking personal questions rather than questions about the movie itself.

GRADE: A-

Special thanks to Sergio Enamorando & Christine Labonté for attending the screening and sharing their input.

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