Some of you may know Brit Marling as an actress who played in Arbitrage as the daughter of Richard Gere’s character. The actress doesn’t only act, she also wrote and produced Sound of My Voice, Another Earth and now this movie. Ever since I saw her in Another Earth I really enjoyed her work as the previously mentioned movies were unique. Both Another Earth and Sound of My Voice were stories set against a sci-fi background (an actual second earth and time travel respectively). Those elements did not play a big part of the story, but it gave those movies a different feel. Although The East does not contain a sci-fi angle it does share a similarity with Sound of Voice. It is about a woman who wants to become part of a group to investigate it (just like the main characters in Sound of My Voice). That group is called The East.
Sarah (Brit Marling) gets the assignment to infiltrate an anarchist group who have been executing attacks on several big corporations who threaten the environment and health of people. She works for a private intelligence firm who want to use the information to stop the group. She manages to find out where the group is holding themselves up and gets to know them. The group is led by Benji (Alexander Skarsgård), but she has to earn their trust. One of the group members, Izzy (Ellen Page), isn’t very open to her joining the group and forms a big challenge. The question is whether Sarah will be able to keep doing her work once she gets to know the people in the group better and starts to care for some of them.
I can really enjoy undercover/infiltration movies as you know the person can be discovered at any moment and the consequences can be extreme. Marling plays the role well and she manages to convey that fear of being discovered in a great way. The East offers a constant feeling of threat/danger and as I was watching this I really felt for the issues Sarah was dealing with. The message that big corporations are bad is obvious, but didn’t become too dominant. It’s more about the personal relationships and the choices Sarah must make. The characters are interesting and the movie offers a lot of suspense. If you are looking for an interesting thriller, The East might just be the movie you are looking for.