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The East

The East

USA 2013 - with Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Shilo Fernandez ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:The East
Genre:Drama, Thriller
Direction:Zal Batmanglij
Cinema release:18.07.2013
Production country:USA 2013
Running time:Approx. 116 min.
Rated:From 12 years
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Mighty corporations is the militant anarchist group that calls itself "The East", more than just a little thorn in the side. A large pharmaceutical company, targeted by the undercover group, hires a private detective company to protect the company and above all the wealthy board members from the actions of capitalism opponents. For this purpose, the former FBI agent Sarah (Brit Marling), who now works for the detective company, is to infiltrate "The East" and thwart the militant troop's mission from the inside out. In fact, Sarah manages unexpectedly quickly to locate the group and be taken into their inner circle. By taking part in the next guerrilla action, she proves her loyalty even to the extremely sceptical Izzy (Ellen Page) - which in reality, however, is to her client Sharon (Patricia Clarkson). But the longer Sarah is in the circle of people whom she actually regarded as eco-terrorists and dangerous would-be do-gooders, the greater her doubts about the correctness of her mission become. Or is their professionalism perhaps clouded by emerging feelings for the charismatic Benji (Alexander Skarsgard)?

After they had a respectable success with the indie drama "Sound of my Voice" not only at the renowned Sundance-Festival, filmmaker Zal Batmanglij has again teamed up with his co-author and leading actress Brit Marling for his second feature film "The East". The two study friends were inspired by a self-experiment in which they completely left the world of consumption behind for one summer. Like their protagonist Sarah, the two of them travelled through the country in freight trains, fed on discarded food and slept with like-minded people in abandoned houses or temporary tent camps. Their experiences on this very special trip have been incorporated into the story of "The East".

However, instead of pure anarchist consumer criticism, their film offers a mix of different genres to make their important message accessible to a wider audience. The film has elements of thriller, drama and romance. The discrepancy between the meticulously arranged rules of life Sarah actually leads and the closeness to nature and complete non-conformity she encounters in "The East" makes the story particularly appealing, as it shows how important it is to leave one's own personal cocoon and look at the world from a different perspective.

Leastly, the movie uses a few clichés, which are supposed to provide a certain authenticity, but in the end have a somewhat opposite effect. For when the members of the anarchist group are shown as nature lovers embracing trees and performing nude rituals for the sake of inner cohesion, this already seems like a very worn out picture. But that's, apart from the somewhat exaggerated ending perhaps, the only really noteworthy weakness of a generally very interesting and thrilling movie, which can come up with an excellent cast of actors and several thrilling moments.

Although Batmanglij and Marling position themselves quite clearly in their screenplay and the boundaries between good and evil are drawn very clearly here, the movie doesn't push its message too intrusively into the viewer. The entertainment value still comes first, but in the end there is enough material for extensive discussions or intensive thinking. It may be that "The East" doesn't fully exhaust its existing potential and that the actual basic thought is watered down a little bit by the story that is built up in a conventional way in the end. Nevertheless, Zal Batmanglij has managed to make a very exciting and intelligent movie, which shows that entertainment and ambition aren't mutually exclusive. Therefore applies: with small concessions absolutely worth seeing!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "The East (USA 2013)"
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