Friday, 28 June 2013

The East (2013)

Image: 20th Century Fox

Last on our screens alongside Richard Gere in the drama Arbitrage, Brit Marling is back on familiar ground with her latest film The East, reteaming with frequent collaborator Zal Batmanglij to co-write and also star in this much-hyped thriller The East as the principal character Sarah Moss.

Working as an operative for private intelligence firm Hiller Brood, Sarah is brought on board to infiltrate an anarchist group that has been terrorising the neighbourhoods of powerful CEOs. Armed with little more than a mobile phone and a bottle of hair dye, Sarah must work to bring this collective out of the dark whilst maintaining enough strength to resist its obvious charms.

The problem with The East is evident very early on: it’s got plenty of drama, some romance, and occasional tension, but it’s not a thriller. It’s also clear from the beginning of Sarah’s mission that we’re not going to be in for a very complex ride as she opts for a simple hair-lift to get the job started, and all the other signs on her journey characteristically point to The East. Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page and Toby Kebbell are all part of the insubordinate yet likable crew, however, Marling and director Batmanglij can’t quite get a handle on what they want this film to be.

Genre disputes aside, though, it’s a well-directed, enjoyable movie - if a tad too long – with solid performances from the actors, so a Friday night watching The East certainly wouldn’t be a wasted one.



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