This isn’t academic writing, maybe not strictly film journalism, and there’s little trace of a style guide; it’s a conversation or random musings upon the stories that have us talking. They can arrive at any time, but when they do please join the conversation. They are FIW THOUGHTS.

The East Brit Marling

Words: Brody Rossiter
Twitter: @BrodyRossiter


Thanks to an overpriced Sky Movies subscription I was able to stream The East one evening and the following afternoon this week. Director Zal Batmanglij’s (best surname ever?) 2013 thriller follows Sarah (Brit Marling), an anti-terrorist operative who specialises in counteracting home-grown eco-terrorist cells, as she infiltrates the mysterious group known as The East.

Essentially the picture is a tightly wound spy flick that, as with any good spy/corporate espionage film (Three Days of the Condor, The Firm), challenges the viewer to empathise with its lead character’s plight and re-examine their own personal beliefs in the process; a welcome trope which The East accomplishes through its meditative focus upon Sarah and her new double-life – precariously balanced between the boardroom and the wildness. The narrative felt fresh and urgent, the picture’s depiction of eco-terrorism versus corporate America treaded new ground from a storytelling standpoint (at least from my perspective) and managed to sustain its ingenuity throughout.

You’re confronted with an action-thriller reminiscent of Enemy of the State, and Point Break, only with a much more thoughtful thread running throughout. The core eco-terrorism exposition is a high-octane plot vehicle as opposed to a commentary upon corporations (the wrongdoings which The East rebel against feel far-fetched, we’re aware that big-business is often corrupt, just not this downright dastardly) but nevertheless it’s by no means a thoughtless throwaway movie, but rather a misty, cathartic fairy-tale of unwashed knights and suited-up villains set in a polluted contemporary kingdom.

The cast is strong and possesses much depth; notable names include Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Patricia Clarkson, and obviously Marling. From a completely subjective POV I found Brit Marling’s hair somewhat hypnotizing, as a matter of fact, the majority of the cast are rockin’ grungy locks and plaid ensembles at some stage or another – but follicles aside their performances, back-stories, and resolutions are truly noteworthy and engaging.

The East is definitely worth two hours of your time any day of the week. It’s good-looking, precise, and economical filmmaking that not only serves its purpose for entertaining but also makes you invest a great deal of yourself in its characters and their thick, lustrous, inexplicably buoyant hair.

The East is currently available on Sky Movies but you can also order a copy here.

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