The East

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Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij team up again (after co-writing ‘Sound of My Voice’) with ‘The East’.

‘The East’ is a group of young “rebels” so to speak, who try to seek revenge on large corporations and their executives who have caused the biggest problems in the world today, such as the financial crash, oil spills etc.

Brit Marling stars as Sarah, a young covert operative for a special intelligence agency, tasked with infiltrating ‘The East’.  Sarah, being extremely dedicated to her career takes on the mission only to realize she starts to empathize and side with the rebel group.

Some great performances from Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page, however Brit Marling’s quietly controlled strength is the same presence seen in her other performances such as in ‘Sound of My Voice’, ‘Another Earth’ and ‘Arbitrage’.  -Which makes me believe her acting ability is limited to her own personal demeanor.

Another limitation with Marling is also her writing, with similar themes of strange “cult-like” relationships and actions seen in both ‘Sound of My Voice’ and ‘The East’.  This may be due to the shared writing contributions of Batmanglij and herself but even with ‘Another Earth’, we saw a lot of slow moving character analysis and background within the entire second acts.  It feels like she may be over analyzing the characters and what they would naturally do, which in turn dramatically affects the pace of her films.

While I praise Marling for her interesting and unique concepts in all of her scripts, ‘The East’  being no exception, I am certainly not impressed with her execution of the rest of the story.  ‘The East’ had potential to be so much more exciting if it had adopted more of what is shown in films such as ‘The Bourne’ franchise and even ‘Salt’.  But ultimately Sarah’s character did not come off as strong as she should have and the plot did not drive the audience through with much conviction at all.

 

4/10

 

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Dark Skies

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Finally a modern horror that isn’t slasher, blood and gore, or all about the supernatural.

Dark Skies stars ‘The Americans’ lead actress, Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton as the typical American suburban couple, Lacy and Daniel Barrett with their two young sons, Jesse and Sam.

Everything seems normal until what seems like intruder break ins start to plague their home.  Their youngest son, Sam, also insists he’s being visited by the “Sand Man”.  Since Sam and his big brother are big fans of scary bedtime stories, his claims aren’t taken so seriously by his parents until they themselves start to see the strange events before their own eyes.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Russell’s character Lacy, is the first to believe in the “outer Earth” encounters whereas her husband Daniel still remains skeptical.  They enlist in the help of an “Alien expert” who confirm that they are being visited by an Alien form termed “The Grays”.   The Barrettts learn that they are not the only people who have experienced the alien encounters and that most of the other families affected have had their child taken by the aliens, usually the first child that claims to have seen the aliens is the one they are after.

So the Barretts only home in combating the unwelcome encounters from taking their youngest child Sam, is to strengthen their family unit, uniting together and fighting the aliens with all their might.

What proceeds is unexpected as a twist, reminiscent of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Signs’.

A great watch that will keep you hooked throughout.

 

8.5/10

 

 

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