Brit Marling in The East (2013)

A Wrong Turn

Having previous worked for the FBI Sarah (Brit Marling) now works for a private intelligence firm where Sharon (Patricia Clarkson) allocates her the task of infiltrating a terrorist group known as The East and destroy them from inside. It doesn't take long for her to come across them although she finds fitting in much harder than expected as their manifesto of being a collective is shocking to her. But to keep up with the masquerade she finds herself having to participate in their acts of retribution against companies which get away with crimes from hiding the truth about drugs to pollution. But Sarah finds her focus challenged not only by the arguments they put across for what they do but also be her feelings for another member of the group.

For a few minutes I thought that maybe "The East" would be some sort of sleeper thriller, the sort of movie which starts slowly and gets better the longer it goes on. Unfortunately it seems it maybe the other way around because the opening 10 minutes of this movie are the best it gets and from then on it is simply hard work. The thing is that it feels like I have been here before with a storyline which sees someone going undercover only to feel an attraction for a member of the gang she has infiltrated.

Now the thing is that if there was anything substantially more to "The East" than just that but to me there isn't and so we watch time and again as this group targets big companies who have done wrong whilst Sarah tries to deter them and becoming more involved at the same time. For those who have a passion for activism then maybe the movie will come across differently.

What this all boils down to is that "The East" had the ideas and could have made a great social statement. But the end result is a movie which never really evolves and instead ends up becoming more and more laborious.