THE EAST: A REVIEW

THE EAST is an awesome looking espionage film from the Melbourne International Film Festival that I have wanted to see for a long time – it was one of the first trailers I posted on the new Salty website a few months back now. It is nicely reviewed, as always, by Salty Kernel, DARA SHASHOUA. It still has one screening remaining at the festival – Sunday 11th August at 7pm at Greater Union. As Dara is now our Melbourne correspondent we got your back in multiple states so enjoy this review from Lady D. Tickets can be purchased for the film HERE and be sure to suss out their website for the entire program HERE.

 

Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond, Patricia Clarkson, Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling, MIFF, Melbourne International Film Festival, The East, The East Review, The East Movie, Espionage Film, dara shashoua,
THE EAST – A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE MIFF

 

I remember watching the trailer for The East many months ago and was immediately excited for the release of this film. When I saw it was being played at the Melbourne International Film Festival I couldn’t book my ticket fast enough, the bonus was that it was being shown at The Forum, which, if you’ve been to Melbourne is the gorgeous Gothic theatre opposite Federation Square. It has gargoyles perched on the top watching down on everyone. It was the perfect location to screen this movie.

The East is the story of a successful FBI agent, Sarah Moss (Brit Marling), who is now under the employ of a high-end security company working for large corporations.  Her assignment is to infiltrate an anarchist collective called The East. The opening scene of the film shows video footage of the groups first ‘jam’ where they pour oil through the vents of the Director of BP after an oil spill.

Essentially they work on the premise of an eye for an eye.

 

Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond, Patricia Clarkson, Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling, MIFF, Melbourne International Film Festival, The East, The East Review, The East Movie, Espionage Film, dara shashoua,
THE EAST – A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE MIFF

 

Sarah transforms herself to become a traveler and spends time living like a freegan in order to find those involved in The East. Eventually after some time she finds a member and is taken to their headquarters, an ‘abandoned’ house in the woods.

Each member of the collective has their own axe to grind, from being personally affected by pharmaceutical companies, to family members being responsible to severe pollution of local waterways. They organise these ‘jams’ based around these personal vendettas.

 

Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond, Patricia Clarkson, Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling, MIFF, Melbourne International Film Festival, The East, The East Review, The East Movie, Espionage Film, dara shashoua,
THE EAST – A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE MIFF

 

The East brings up many poignant questions – How far you willing to go avenge wrongs?  How responsible should the head of corporations be when their companies inflicted damage upon the community? At what point does someone do something about it? The director Zal Batmaglij stated in an interview that two days before they began shooting the film Occupy Wall Street had started.  Perhaps this film is the start of a new wave of films questioning the world and the fracture that occurs between us all on a daily basis. We communicate via phones, or computers instead of face to face, we rarely feel like much is in our control, in fact it is only our small part of the world that we can control but what about all the other atrocities that happen? How can we do anything to help? This film explores these questions, perhaps the solution is somewhat radical but I believe this film will have some sort of effect on most people.

 

Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond, Patricia Clarkson, Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling, MIFF, Melbourne International Film Festival, The East, The East Review, The East Movie, Espionage Film, dara shashoua,
THE EAST – A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE MIFF

 

Benji (Alexander Skarsgard) is the group’s ‘leader’ and is the driving force behind the jams, his first officer is Izzy played by Ellen Page. At points Izzy is a lot more passionate about the ‘jams’ and is often questioning Benji on his choices. My favourite character is Doc played by Toby Kebbell (Rock N Rolla), his back-story is incredible and moving, but you’ll just have to watch the film to find out why.

Sarah Moss’ boss Sharon is played by Patricia Clarkson. Can this woman ever do anything wrong? She is just amazing as the owner of the security company who fails to stop and look at the companies that hire here and what they are responsible for. For her, it’s about the money and prestige about what she does.

Sarah starts to question her role in everything and turns from a straight laced agent into a radical who questions everything and everyone around her.

 

Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond, Patricia Clarkson, Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling, MIFF, Melbourne International Film Festival, The East, The East Review, The East Movie, Espionage Film, dara shashoua,
THE EAST – A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE MIFF

 

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij wrote the screenplay together and have done a great job.  There are a few points in the movie that are a little bit unbelievable but at the end of the day it is a movie and you keep going with the flow.  It’s beautifully shot and the scenes at the house where they are all staying are gorgeous.

The East is a great film with a very interesting premise, I wonder if this may be the beginning of a groundswell of change. The East will get a cinematic release sometime in the future after the festival tour.

 

3 and a Half Pops

 

As we have already posted the trailer you can view it right HERE.