The East

The East ★★

The ideas let me down in a big way here.

The film has a good set-up and gets off to a pretty strong start. The idea of an undercover operative infiltrating an activist group like this has potential. In fact the film is quite engaging initially as there is a unique vibe to the proceedings. In particular the film does a good job in establishing and drawing out the inherent mystery surrounding said group. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to know where to go with it.

There reached a point in the film where I began to have trouble getting the tone. I couldn't quite tell if there was a concerted effort to draw out a comical angle or if we were supposed to take it all seriously. I will admit the messiness here was initially somewhat appealing but it didn't take long for the film to lose favor with me after this.

At a certain point the message of the film breaks through and let's just say it's pretty damn heavy-handed. I wouldn't argue if one made the statement that the message on display was simply preachy as fuck. I'm not usually a fan of handling viewpoints like this, but can deal with it if they are handled in an intelligent manner. There just wasn't that much depth to what the film was trying to say here. These arguments did not tend to provoke much (if any) kind of intellectual thought. They were presented in such an all-knowing way that it was quite frankly off-putting.

If you are going to make a film in this kind of vein there needs to be a driving character arc. The problem with Sarah in this film is we never get to know her before she goes undercover. There is no change for us to witness. It all just feels way to easy and convenient. I will be a bit blunt and say at times her transition here tends to be a bit laughable in nature.

Simply put........it's an issue-driven intellectual film in theory only.

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