The East

The East ★★★★

Much like Zal Batmanglij's previous film (last year's excellent SOUND OF MY VOICE), THE EAST is a tense thriller about a character who is tasked with infiltrating a covert collective. In SOUND OF MY VOICE it was a creepy cult; here it's a shadowy eco-terrorist group called "The East."

Brit Marling, who co-wrote and acted in both films, stars as Sarah, a hotshot operative for a mysterious private intelligence firm who wins the prominent appointment to go undercover and bring down The East. Trouble is, Sarah is in a tough position when she finds a lot of merit in the East's ideals (if not their methods), and finds herself drawn to their charismatic leader, Benji (Alexander Skarsgard).

While it loses a bit of its thread in the messy home stretch, THE EAST is by and large a very, very well-done, intense, and morally ambiguous thriller, filled with great performances, chief among them Marling, Skarsgard, and Ellen Page as a young woman who is particularly vigorous in her adherence to the East's mission.

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