Film Review: The East

Thriller The East is an entertaining affair. There is not much going on beneath the surface, but this does not detract from the enjoyment in Zal Batmanglij’s film.

Jane, an undercover agent for an elite private intelligence firm, is sent on her next mission. She is to infiltrate an anarchist group known as The East. Sarah must find out the group’s next target whilst getting its leader to trust her…

Written by director Zal Batmanglij and star Brit Marling, The East feels incredibly current, given recent news stories. The film taps into the fascination with covert groups such as Anonymous, particular given the cyber angle.

The East is a competently executed thriller that should retain the viewer’s attention. It works well as entertainment, but those expecting something more nuanced may be disappointed. Messages in the film are laid out clearly; there is little to ponder beyond the values that the filmmakers push. This is not a huge problem, as the film works on the entertainment level.

There is some ambiguity with the main characters, which adds a sense of mystery to proceedings. Protagonist Jane’s mindset is understandable. The film does not over-emphasise her background, which is certainly an asset. The snippets revealed as the film progresses fill in enough of the picture, without the need to explicitly spell things out.

The East offers an interesting enough narrative. Some of the events do seem rather questionable, however. For example, Jane seems to infiltrate a top-secret, sophisticate cell with relative ease. Moreover, the decisions she takes in the film’s climax appear to tally less with her earlier behaviour.

Brit Marling delivers a believable performance as Jane. She has good support from Alexander Skarsgärd and Shiloh Fernandez. Most of the characters are given enough depth to make them appear three-dimensional.

With its contemporary themes, The East should satisfy audiences looking for a decent thriller.

Stuff To Look At

This week there is plenty of stuff to look at, including the latest from  Man of SteelThe Bling Ring trailer and more…

Man of Steel

Well doesn’t this latest Man of Steel trailer look exciting? To be honest, the first trailer for the new Superman film was a bit too fishing boat for me. This looks far more appealing, given that it is after all a superhero movie. Man of Steel is out in UK cinemas 14th June 2013.

The Bling Ring

Above is the international version of The Bling Ring trailer. I have seen The Bling Ring and can say with confidence that it is a great film. Sofia Coppola writes and directs the story of the young group of burglars who stole from the homes of Hollywood celebrities. It features the world’s greatest blog Dlisted, which is reason enough to go and see The Bling Ring when it hits UK cinemas on 5th July 2013.

The East

This is one good-looking group of anarchists. The East appears to tap into the proliferation of groups such as Anonymous with this story of an FBI officer who goes undercover to infiltrate a collective known as ‘The East’. The film opens in UK cinemas on 28th June 2013.

Rio 2

Following the success of the 2011 animated movie, sequel Rio 2 has a teaser trailer. Blu and Jewel have had three mini-birds. The teaser gives very little away about the plot, but I’m sure more will be revealed closer to Rio 2‘s release in 2014.