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The East (2013)



Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 140
Fresh: 103 | Rotten: 37

Tense, thoughtful, and deftly paced, The East is a political thriller that never loses sight of the human element.


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 13

Tense, thoughtful, and deftly paced, The East is a political thriller that never loses sight of the human element.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 18,253

My Rating

Movie Info

THE EAST, a suspenseful and provocative espionage thriller from acclaimed writer-director Zal Batmanglij and writer-actress Brit Marling, stars Marling as former FBI agent Sarah Moss. Moss is starting a new career at Hiller Brood, an elite private intelligence firm that ruthlessly protects the interests of its A-list corporate clientele. Handpicked for a plum assignment by the company's head honcho, Sharon (Patricia Clarkson), Sarah goes deep undercover to infiltrate The East, an elusive

Sep 17, 2013


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All Critics (140) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (103) | Rotten (37) | DVD (1)

Its morally ambiguous investigation of extreme left-wing politics is ... light years away from usual multiplex concerns.

June 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The latest collaboration between director Zal Batmanglij and screenwriter Brit Marling suffers from the same problem as their previous picture, Sound of My Voice: It's taut, compelling, unpredictable and completely wipes out in the final few minutes.

June 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"The East" leaves questions unanswered, but at least it asks those questions.

June 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A fast-rising newcomer to film, the willowy Marling is maturing fast, and encouragingly unwilling to dumb herself down for stock girlfriend roles. This is her strongest work yet and I hope a harbinger of much more to come.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Marling and Batmanglij bring an evenhanded perspective to their portrayals of the characters and issues involved.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A watchably confused eco-thriller that's never sure who its heroes are.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Marling and Batmanglij don't fear or resent entertainment: They make effective thrillers... If they reach a major studio and bigger budget, they could be the right kind of dangerous.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Grantland

The whole thing feels strident and naive, a well-meaning drama composed by a couple of college kids for their Environmental Science final.

January 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The total effect is affected, annoying and off-putting.

January 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Provocative and exciting, with bigger set pieces and a fierce devotion to character development, this is the sort of smart genre thriller that Hollywood needs more of.

October 5, 2013 Full Review Source:

Marling's committed performance is offset slightly by Skarsgård's glumness and the 'surprise' casting of Page, who plays the part like Juno grown up (sort of) and turned vengeful communist psychopath.

September 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Rip It Up

Immaculately made with a thought-provoking emphasis on corporate espionage, it's just missing intensity and grit

September 26, 2013 Full Review Source: The Popcorn Junkie
The Popcorn Junkie

If you start off seeing the film's moral world in simple black and white terms - greedy one percent on one side; righteous activists on the other - you'll be left uneasy... but Marling and Batmanglij deliver gripping suspense and challenging ideas.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

The biggest issue with The East is that Batmanglij and Marling so thoroughly rig the script in the environmentalists' favor.

July 11, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

an engaging and almost uncomfortably thought-provoking dramatic thriller about what we -- as individuals and as a society -- value most.

July 10, 2013 Full Review Source:

...a completely average piece of work that pales in comparison to Sound of My Voice.

July 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

It all adds up to an intelligent romp which keeps one eye on timely issues (activists or terrorists?) and the other on entertainment.

July 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

What counts here is the characters' sense of rebellion, their susceptibility to the persuasive actions of others and the bravery of the lead character to try to stop them in their tracks.

July 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Batmanglij and his cast invest the story with enough nuance and feeling to make the thriller that unfurls feel like it matters.

July 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Scotsman

The filmmakers seem to believe the mere fact of their earnestness makes their movie more worthwhile than a more exciting 'escapist' spy thriller.

July 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

The East suffers from a critical identity crisis, squandering an initially intriguing premise to veer awkwardly between intimate character study and formulaic espionage thriller. It satisfies on neither count.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

Despite a bunch of cold characters and a deeply contrived plot, this film is so infused with hot topicality that we are held in its grip all the way through.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source:

Marling's creative input assures a healthy dosage of philosophical fodder within a solid what's-next plot that keeps us involved and guessing, even when it's implausible.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source:

The love story feels a bit forced, but otherwise it's an intelligent examination of the dangers of both fanaticism and espionage ...

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

A slick, grungy espionage thriller so in tune with the times it's almost uncanny.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Has more to offer than your average US thriller.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Audience Reviews for The East

Good movie. The writing is clever and topical, and obviously hits quite a few nerves for those viewers who object to its criticism of corporate America. I applaud the film makers for daring to challenge a system that all too often succumbs to greed and corruption, and leaves behind death and grief. Not at all a dull movie, full of some really great acting...
February 18, 2014

Super Reviewer

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and I am starting to admire Brit Marling as writer and actress. While some may love or hate the ending, I was thoroughly engaged in the story-line and I appreciate movies that leave me thinking afterwards.
December 24, 2013

Super Reviewer

Although it may drag out some scenes and have a few off moments, "The East" is a genuinely good thriller with very unique camerawork and a cast that you will not be able to turn away from. Every actor/actress in this film will engage you in the story and not want to stop watching. The first half of the film is far more interesting than the second half, but it's premise does not shy away from what it wants to get across. I think the biggest problem with the film is that it just chooses to end without any real resolution. I felt very letdown by the ending, but the characters stayed true, so that's fine I guess. This film has some scenes that really stood out to me, and that I would tell people to watch the film just to see those, the script is very well-written, and having Ridley Scott as one of your producers is a definite plus. I did not love this movie, but it is very very good!
December 9, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

"The East" is a movie that has a very interesting concept, but fails to live up to the potential it creates. It's about a movement called "The East" that basically terrorizes CEO's of companies that do harm to people and the environment. The don't kill them, but they do make them bathe in toxic water, fill their home with oil, etc. The cast is decent, nothing outstanding, but what you would expect in a lower budget type thriller that this is. Brit Marling, Ellen Page, and Alexander Skarsgard headline. Marling as an undercover agent who infiltrates the group and Page and Skarsgard as the two main members. I really liked the idea of this movie, but I thought it spent too much time of the undercover agent/quasi love story. If it were more about the group and their actions, this could have been very special. But, it's not. In the end it's just another undercover agent who turns movie. It's slow, but does have a few very good moments. Worth a watch? Sure. But it's not something that is going to stand out, at least not for me.
November 15, 2013
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

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