Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: The January Sale!
Try 3 issues of Empire magazine for just £1
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Brit Marling
Alexander Skarskård
Ellen Page
Toby Kebbell
Patricia Clarkson.
Directors
Zal Batmanglij.
Screenwriters
Zal Batmanglij
Brit Marling.
Running Time
116 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Zulu
3 Star Empire Rating
Two For The Road
3 Star Empire Rating
Thief
4 Star Empire Rating
Sirius
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
EMPIRE ESSAY: When Harry Met Sally
5 Star Empire Rating
Leviathan
5 Star Empire Rating

The East
Anarchy In The US


submit to reddit


Plot
Sarah (Marling), a former FBI agent, takes a job with a private agency and goes undercover to infiltrate the East, an anarchist collective which carries out attacks on misbehaving corporations. Attracted to their leader Benji (Skarskård), Sarah starts to sympathise with their cause.


Review
The East

Unusually, Brit Marling has come close to mainstream stardom by co-writing scripts for odd, attention-catching indie movies which give her good roles but aren’t just vanity trips. In Another Earth (with co-writer/director Mike Cahill) and Sound Of My Voice (with The East’s co-writer/director Zal Batmanglij), Marling uses science-fiction concepts to open contemporary wounds. Here, she ditches the sci-fi and tells a story which is perilously close to Point Break/The Fast And The Furious in its basic plot outline (undercover cop joins the rebels), but sets it in an only-just-exaggerated American nightmare drawn not from old-school headlines but the blogs and pranks and leaks of the current mediascape.

In a post-democratic America where espionage is contracted out to the private sector and law enforcement is handled by unaccountable corporations for their own ends, it’s almost too obvious that a feeling person like our heroine will side with the anarchists. The instances of corporate evil here, though horribly credible, are cartoonishly extreme, with Patricia Clarkson as a Disney villainess sending princess Brit out into new wave hobo jungles to hook up with masked raiders.

What’s missing is the complexity John Sayles brings to this sort of project, but Marling and Batmanglij do show that members of the East don’t always agree with each other on tactics, tend to go off on personal crusades and are aware of the cost of their estrangement from straight society. There are footnotes about how to live off perfectly good food that’s been thrown away, and good, engaged and engaging performances from Ellen Page and Toby Kebbell as subordinate Easterners. Marling and Alexander Skarsgård strike sparks, but the romance angle feels forced — Skarsgård’s charisma makes the East feel as much a cult
as a collective, but the film gives his character too easy a time of it, just as it shies away from the true repercussions of a key character’s actions.


Verdict
Well-acted and suspenseful, with a great deal of editorial content, this feels a little awkward and earnest, and perhaps not angry enough.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The East
Empire Star Rating

Very enjoyable

I don't think the lack of complexity is such a bad thing ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lukeuser at 21:41, 08 January 2015 | Report This Post


Yeah, agree.

fortunately I went in with very little information about the film, having read no reviews and seen no trailers or footage. I enjoyed it. But as Mr Newman mentioned, it's a been light. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 17:36, 30 June 2013 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
10 Kid-Friendly Marvel Comics That Could Be The Next Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Animation Studios have a lot to play with elsewhere in the Marvelverse

20 Sitcom Spin-Offs That Were Doomed To Fail
From Joey to Ally and back again…

Jessica Chastain Takes The IMDbunker
The Most Violent Year star takes our most random quiz

Five Impressive Oscar Isaac Roles You Didn't Realise Were Oscar Isaac
Welcome to Oscar season...

Johnny Depp And Paul Bettany Talk Mortdecai
How good is your 'Mortdecai face'?

Fables: A Primer
An introduction to Bill Willingham’s wonderfully dark fairy-tale world

12 Hitchcock Remakes Ranked From Best To Worst
Lifeboat in space, anyone?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)