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.
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