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The East is still a compelling portrait of what gets lost (and found) when a cause becomes an obsession.
The Hollywood Reporter
Batmanglij balances emotional tension with practical danger nicely, a must in a story whose activist protagonists can make no distinction between the personal and the political.
This is a movie that proposes a genuine, intelligent solution, both for the main character and for us. It comes at you kinda quickly (and economically, in about three wordless shots), but it hit me like a bag of dumpster-dived apples to the gut.
Eventually it’s go time, and if The East loses a little steam on the grounds of action mechanics (a skill these plots always require), it’s never dumb on the subject of covert allegiances.
As slickly paced as a big-studio espionage movie, it nearly succeeds as a pure adrenaline-rush thriller. In the end, the problem isn't that there's too much plot, but rather a certain dramatic illogic.
It showcases the evolving interests and talents of Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling, but expands them and channels them into a more traditional thriller framework.
This clever, involving spy drama builds to a terrific level of intrigue before losing some steam in its second half.
The East is definitely a movie that's going to divide people but it'll be a conversation worth having.
For all its empathy and equilibrium, The East has nowhere to go after the script backs itself into a corner.
A good cast and the speed-dial theme of eco-terrorism should really add up to a film of more substantial mind over matter than the dull, talky and ultimately pointless espionage thriller The East.
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