It presents some moral quandaries by taking on a topical subject, but gets too caught up in its heroine’s journey to make a memorable statement.
In THE EAST, Sarah Moss (Marling) is a brilliant operative for an elite private intelligence firm whose top objective is to ruthlessly protect the interests of their A-list corporate clientele. She is assigned to go undercover to infiltrate an anarchist collective known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations. Living amongst them in an effort to get closer to their members, Sarah finds herself unexpectedly torn between two worlds as she starts to fall in love with a charismatic member of the group, finding her life and her priorities irrevocably changed.
The East tackles the age old debate of questionable means for social justice but this time it focuses on extreme environmentalists. This is a timely topic today especially with the need for sustainability. The Earth will probably get melted by the sun or hit by a meteorite but long before that, humans are already doing a good job at sucking up the planet dry that if either these happen, it’ll be a perfunctory end.
The film follows Sarah Moss’ journey as she gets pulled in two opposite directions – a secure job with a forgettable boyfriend and an exclusive membership in an Eco-terrorist group she’s sent to expose with a magnetic (would bang) leader.
While the film never loses sight of the human element and the cast delivers a good performance, the problem is it focuses too much on the lead. The plot is skewed on the environmentalists’ favor. It doesn’t back up the impunity of the corporations it’s against.
In an age when the cesspool that is 4Chan can get people’s personal details by hacking, surely giant corporations have plenty of resources to investigate a You Tube video and food poisoning in a private event. But fixing implausibilities such as this would cut into the time spent on Moss.
And that’s the main problem. It chucks aside its promising premise for a conventional heroine’s journey.
The East is well directed and thoughtful, but generic and forgettable.