This 2013 movie should’ve played a lot longer in cinemas. Fortunately, Redbox offered it as a rental and I was able to watch it through them. I enjoyed this movie a lot for it was one of those scripts that is not the usual Hollywood fare and challenges our intellectual status quo.
The East is named after a eco-terrorist group in the story. The group is not combatted by any government agency but rather by a private firm hiring their undercover agents out to corporate clients. If you think that is far-fetched, it isn’t. History is ripe with corporations taking their security into their own hands, go ask Blackwater or Pinkerton.
Brit Marling (who did an awesome job of writing this with Zal Batmanglij) is the lead undercover agent infiltrating the group but realizes as time goes on that the moral high-ground has been compromised by both sides. Alexander Skarsgard is the leader of the group and Ellen Page is a member bent on striking back at her father, one of the corporate heads that has wronged society.
‘The East’ doesn’t attack corporations for the sake of attack, instead they target CEO’s and executives and make them suffer the same fate as their victims. Secretly dumping chemicals into people’s’ waterways? Then maybe you’ll fancy a bath in the water just as the chemicals are being dumped.
The cast is brilliant in this movie. You really identify with them, a sign of both good acting and good writing. There are two aspects that I really enjoyed about this movie with the first being that it expresses what every average guy feels and wishes. Our food is pumped full of unknown chemicals, our environment is polluted and poisoned for profit sake and real health care has become a shell game. We can’t afford the high prices of buying pure food, water, or living in gated resorts where the crumbling environment is out of sight and out of mind. Secretly, the average person wishes the corporate CEO’s and executives were brought to our level and forced to live in our world for a year and suffer the consequences. Many would see that as one type of justice. In the movie, the eco-terrorist group ‘The East’ brings that desire to fruition.
The other aspect I loved about this movie was the ending. What you are actually seeing throughout the movie – and you are given some early hints but the ending still catches you off-guard – is the making of an eco-terrorist. How does one find themselves filling those shoes? You see the progression during the movie and by the end you will find yourself standing in that field of moral ambiguity and hopefully questioning your own standards. I don’t want to spoil specifics of the story but if you aren’t thinking at the end of this movie then you have missed the whole moral of the story.
Rent this movie. Really good directing and acting combines with a script that challenges the norm. Could you ask for more with a rental? One can only hope that there are movies like this being produced.