East, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Jason Ritter, Ellen Page. Action/drama/mystery. Written by Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij. Directed by Zal Batmanglij. 116 min.

FILM SYNOPSIS: An operative for an elite private intelligence firm finds her priorities irrevocably changed after she is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations, including acts that lead to death.

PREVIEW REVIEW: There’s a lot of corruption in the business world, and when it is exposed it’s like sticking a stake in a vampire’s heart – one down, more to go. But, generally, militant groups have a deserved bad reputation for feeling falsely superior and not always being truthful or well informed. And most of them act with terroristic methods. And let’s face it, this isn’t a time when we’re open to the adage “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.” The two goofs who set off bombs at the Boston Marathon have Twitter followers, supporters and defenders. Somehow these kooks have justified the harming of innocent people in the name of a cause or because of an ideologue’s demonic deception. It’s rather frustrating to think we share the air with such evildoers and their demented disciples. All that to say, The East is a frustrating film experience.

The East does its very best to humanize those who act with terroristic means. In this case, they attend a party for a pharmaceutical company that is putting out a drug that causes nerve damage. So they spike the champagne of those involved in the production of the drug, but also the drinks of innocent bystanders attending the party. This they do in order to make a point. And sure enough, one of the corporate leaders gets nerve damage, destroying her life. I found that scene extremely disturbing. When people destroy someone’s life in order to further their own objective, it is very dangerous ground, not only morally but socially.

If these anarchists are so adept at getting knockout drugs so they can kidnap people, or spy on companies that revel in corporate shenanigans, then why aren’t they clever enough to expose the wrongdoers without taking the law into their own hands?

Right now there are companies doing questionable things that ultimately harm our society and individual citizens. They should be exposed, but you can’t change the heart by means of terror. You only build resentment. And you can’t fight evil with evil.

These groups not only distrust “The Man,” but they are usually at war with any continuity in the community. And when these groups are themselves exposed, they generally have agendas that exclude God’s directives.

This sermon is included because of my unease with revolutionary groups that, while exposing wrongs done in the business world, also feel comfortable with sacrifice of innocents in the name of a cause.

It’s a well-made film, but ultimately not an honest one. In my opinion, it’s as deceptive and agenda driven as those they wish to villainize.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Fox Searchlight

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Around a half dozen obscenities, mostly the s-word.

Profanity: I caught one misuse of Christ’s name.

Violence: Some violence toward unsuspecting people; while some of the “victims” have done deeds that harm others, still, I felt uncomfortable with the vigilante extremism toward them;.

Sex: A couple of sexual situations, including a game of spin-the-bottle, where two men passionately kiss, as do two women.

Nudity: Brief nudity as we see a man exit a bathtub.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some drinking and smoking

Other: We see a slain deer being gutted and a couple of graphic medical procedures.

Running Time: 110 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.