Friday, January 25, 2013

Sundance Review: The East

Clever. Captivating. Innovative. Perfectly Paced. Brit Marling has breathed new life into film with this fresh idea.

This film was satisfying.

How often can you say that?

I first discovered Brit Marling in Another Earth. She was quiet, stunning, and a persuasive actor. Little did I know she had not only starred in the film, she had also co-written it. A flawless beauty, she was tired of being offered parts as "the dumb cheerleader".  So, she started writing two screenplays of her own. She would work on one in the morning and one in the evening.

One of these was The East. It is an utterly and  completely refreshing idea for a film. A woman (Marling) goes undercover to find and expose an American "terrorist" group of young people led by a seeming fanatic (played marvelously by Alexander Skarsgard). It truly is a band of misfits, Ellen Page being the feistiest of them all.

However, what is defined as "terrorism" is questionable at best--and it puts me, as a member of the audience, in a peculiar situation.  What do you do when you find yourself agreeing and siding with the "terrorists" (gulp)? These people have respect for the land and the seas. They want people to protect their fellow man from the big, bad corporations. They target large oil companies who have trashed the oceans. They target large drug companies who sell drugs with side effects that kill people. They, in fact, do what a lot of young environmentalists wish, in a way, that they could do. But, their actions are dangerous and they are illegal....and enthralling as hell.

You'll definitely be surprised and intrigued. This is one movie that is not figure-out-able in the first five minutes. It doesn't follow a typical Hollywood movie plot line. It isn't simplistic and stupid. It's sophisticated, smart, fast paced, and the best movie I have seen at Sundance this far.

(movies and pictures will be added to this post tonight when I get home!)

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