East movie poster

Sarah (star and cowriter Brit Marling) is a rising star at a private espionage agency who gets assigned to infiltrate the titular domestic protest organization. The East does punishment-fits-the-crime work: flooding the home of an oil exec with the same crude that his company spilled all over a coastline, etc. But deep cover work has a way of clouding perspective, especially when the targets are painfully earnest (Ellen Page) and brutally handsome (Alexander Skarsgard). Marling, together with director and cowriter Zal Batmanglij, works hard to give us a world where the waters are not only polluted, but also muddy — the bad guys don't set out to do bad things, and the good guys are driven as much by revenge as a thirst for justice. The laudable point is that things are complicated, and only at the very end do things venture into the realm of (organic) popcorn fantasy. 2013.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.


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