Kevin Wight’s review published on Letterboxd:
There is one main issue with The East, before I comment on the plotting, the acting, or anything else and it is this: to get anything out of this film at all, you will have to be at least slightly of a left-wing disposition. If you aren't, or if you are not even remotely bothered about environmental issues then you will be all adrift with absolutely zero investment in any of it.
It's marketed as a morally complex thriller - it isn't really. It thinks it is, but it's no more complex than a venn diagram with a black circle and a grey circle interlocking to make a grey area. Thankfully tovarisch, I am fairly left-wing so my sympathies are initially with ;'The East', the eco-terrorists making ironic attacks on various nasty capitalist pig-digs like a multi-legged Naomi Klein wet dream.
Co-Writer Brit Marling is the agent of a private investigatory company that goes undercover to infiltrate these naughty types consisting of leader Alexander Skarsgård, diminutive firebrand Ellen Page, and twitchy doc Toby Kebbell. It doesn't take a genius to work out that her loyalties will becomes divided.
Therein is the stories largest problem besides its inherent politics. Despite the time taken to establish the group and a really daring attack on one particular corporation which is a really rather great set piece, it is so predictable that beyond the actual specifics you can see everything coming a mile of and the tension is utterly diffused.
If anything perhaps Marling and co-writer and director Zal Batmanglij should be applauded for making such a politically partisan film and I am certainly not adverse to seeing corporate bigwigs getting a taste of their own medicine. The simplicity of the politics on display here is so blatant that all ambiguity is missing.
It is a waste as it takes its time to construct something interesting and then throws it all away with hectoring preaching.