“The East,” directed by Zal Batmanglij, is a fine reprieve from the recent glut of garbage that has saturated the DVD movie machines; you actually have a storyline that is both plausible and intriguing.
Jane (Brit Marling), an undercover operative for a private security firm, is hired to infiltrate a group of eco-terrorists called “The East.” The members of The East seek revenge upon targeted corporations which are causing havoc to the environment, and since most of the members of the group have been personally damaged themselves by the perceived culprits, the payback is personal. Jane infiltrates the group and is then taken to an abandoned house that serves as the East’ hideout. Benji (Alexander Skarsguard), the leader of the anarchists, does some personal vetting of Jane and when he is convinced he can trust her, he lets her in on the next “jam” (the term used for sabotage). A large pharmaceutical firm that has poisoned one of the members of the group with one of its so-called miracle antibiotics now becomes the bulls eye of the group and the old adage “what goes around, comes around” is put into practical use. Everything goes as planned and the East chills until the next jam is planned; but by now, Jane is developing a form of “Stockholm Syndrome” with the members of the group ─ her empathy with the anarchists goals becomes a source of conflict with what she has been assigned to do.
The tactics used by the eco-terrorists, although extreme, are not too far removed by some of the radical environmentalist methods that we read about in the news today. The only thing that I could not figure out was why a private security firm was being used to infiltrate the East. That aside, this is a good movie, which might make you think twice about the benefits of recycling.
My Rating: 4 of 5 Jams.