Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Written by Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling
Directed by Zal Batmanglij
Starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page

Sarah: Why is it self-righteousness goes hand in hand with resistance movements?

The new eco-thriller from the minds of up and coming screenwriting duo, Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling, entitled THE EAST, plays about as far east from the middle of the road as one can expect from a studio picture. And with it, Batmanglij and Marling make the leap from independent filmmakers - their first effort being the festival hit, SOUND OF MY VOICE - to full fledged Hollywood filmmakers, without sacrificing one bit of their independent spirit. It’s a far cry from when they themselves lived the lives of nomads, hopping trains and eating discarded food out of dumpsters to survive. Had they never been there though, they might never have written THE EAST.

Marling also stars, just as she did in SOUND OF MY VOICE, in THE EAST, as Sarah, an undercover operative who infiltrates an anarchist group of eco-terrorists who live in some undisclosed woods. Her journey there was no simple one, mind you. To infiltrate this group, known as The East, Sarah had to convince them that she was just like them, that she rejected certain societal norms like having a home and a job to support said home. It also meant that she had to convince them that she was capable of going along with their plots to bring down giant corporations whose policies, practices and products were doing direct damage to the planet and its inhabitants for profit. Of course, in one of the film’s few conventional leanings, the lines become muddied for Sarah when she begins to get close to the group and begins to see their point of view.

What gives THE EAST its edge is not the supposedly shocking revelation that people eat food from the bins in the back of the grocery store instead of buying it off of the shelves, but rather Britmanglij and Marling’s ability not to pick sides. The company Sarah works for, which is led by a callous, Patricia Clarkson, follows whatever money that is thrown its way. It is not interested in doing any great good but rather will protect the interests of whoever can afford said protection. Meanwhile, The East is not so altruistic either. Naturally, the members are just people and people act upon their emotions. They have families and pasts that influence their decisions as well. In the end, THE EAST paints a rather tense but also rather bleak picture about the selfishness of humanity but in doing so, it just may open a few eyes to a whole other way of life.


Brittani Burnham said...

Great review! I'm really looking forward to seeing this one. Especially for Sarsgard.

Black Sheep said...

I didn't get to focus too much on him in my review but he does a great job. The entire cast is pretty solid. It's not a revelatory film but it's pretty darn sharp and effective. I hope you like it!

Unknown said...

The reality is:
1. There is an antibiotic causing the exact symptoms portrayed in the film, they are called Fluoroquinolones.
2. If you listen to the news caster in the movie you will hear the name Fluoroquinolones, and how it was used during the Gulf War to vaccinate our troops against Anthrax - the "Gulf War Syndrome" the soldiers suffer from is actually the adverse reactions to the Fluoroquinolone vaccination used, Cipro.
3. Bayer, along with Johnson & Johnson, and the FDA, are all fully aware of how thousands of people have been stricken by the serious adverse reactions to Fluoroquinolones. The three most common prescribed are Avelox, Cipro, and Levaquin - but even with the profits in the billions from the sale of these medications, not one dime has been spent by any of them to research why is it happening, how to reverse, or repair the damage it has caused to the thousands of patients who trusted that the medication they were taking was safe.
It's obvious to those who suffer from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome that the makers of this film did their research prior to making the film, and were spot on in their portrayal of the symptoms of the adverse effects of this antibiotic. This is a classic "Truth is stranger than Fiction" when it come to Fluoroquinolones. The pharmaceutical companies want the world to believe these reactions are rare, when they are not. It has been estimated that 1 out of 10 people will have some type of reaction to these antibiotics ranging from mild to severe. The pharmaceutical companies are willing to let the "few" suffer for the "greater good." Most people know and understand the risk of tendon damage and rupture from Fluoroquinolones, because the pharmaceutical companies were forced to place a warning on the antibiotics - FORCED being the operative word here. They are NOT going to acknowledge any other reaction they are not forced to do. The scariest part of the whole movie - what does it tell you when Hollywood "gets it" before the FDA does?