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» Camden Review - The East, directed by Zal Batmanglij

by Dan Carrier, published on June 27, 2013

The East

Sarah Moss (Brit Marling) is a power-dressing corporate spy who infiltrates an anarchist group to find out what they are up to. She leaves her super-square, God-fearing life and hits the hobo trail to find a shady group of radicals intent on showing corporate America the error of their ways.

As a starting point this could be an interesting film about an agent provocateur coming to terms with the fact that what she had previously understood to be right and wrong is suddenly undermined by meeting politically alternative activists.

Sadly, if you are looking for some kind of intelligent thriller, then do not waste two hours of your life.

Sarah meets up with a character called Benji (Alexander Skarsgard), a kind of Trustafarian Swampy, and finds out that he leads a group called The East who want to take the fight to The Man.

Their activism entails spiking the champagne of a group of pharma­ceutical execs whose products have unpleasant side-effects.

There are some terribly crafted stereotypes that make this dodgy plot even more annoying. Green activists don’t all talk really slowly, in strange drawls, and they don’t prefer to sleep on the floor when there is a comfy bed lying empty next to them. They wash, in showers, and they don’t wait until they see an attractive lake – and they are also capable of scrubbing themselves, not indulging in some kind of mass foreplay when it’s time to have a bath.

The many, many irritating things about this Fox Searchlight production – yes, that stablemate of our global harbinger of morality, Rupert Murdoch’s News International – detract from the fact that Green politics is deadly serious.

The ethics of direct action could be an interesting starting point.

This film is pretentious and ill-informed.

Forget its faux message, though that is bad enough, it also fails as its action does little to alleviate the long periods of boring, angsty nonsense.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Source: www.camdenreview.com

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