Review this movie
Jun 25, 2013What I like best about movies that highlight corporate greed and revenge for the little guy is that the ultimate message is, people matter. The health of their environment matters. Their health matters. Their children matter. And it's not okay for them to be treated as collateral damage by corporate money-mongers.
Such is true in real life.
On a personal level, what I most appreciated about The East was that it accurately depicted the horrors of a real class of prescription antibiotics, fluoroquinolones. (Per Brit Marling in a Huffington Post interview, they modeled the horrors of the pharmaceutical industry in the film after the real horrors of fluoroquinolone toxicity.) The fictionalized Diaoxin (or something like that) that causes central nervous system damage, tendon rupture, seizures, rash, tremors, etc. is based on real reactions to real drugs, antibiotics that go by the names Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox and Larium. As The East depicted, the effects of these drugs can be devastating. The East also illustrated that onset of adverse symptoms can be delayed, leading to people not identifying the drugs as the culprit in their ill health, the fact that a lawsuit is impossible, or at least difficult, because the side-effects are listed on the package insert, that these drugs are being given to our armed forces in massive quantities, that these drugs are toted as a miracle cure for anthrax, that these drugs are commonly used in Africa (and other places in the world where malaria is common) to treat traveler’s diarrhea and malaria, etc. Really, they did an awesome job at portraying as complete a picture as possible of fluoroquinolones and their toxicity. I know, it sounds unbelievable, as if I'm basing my assessment of reality on the movie. In reality, the movie was based on true stories of fluoroquinolone toxicity. Please look at The Fluoroquinolone Wall of Pain on Facebook for stories of illness and my blog, www.floxiehope.com, for stories of hope and healing.… Expand
Sep 22, 2013This is a film about radical youth, anarchists who have decided to take the world back from their parents’ generation, since their parents have clearly made a mess of things. Brit Marling as Sarah Moss is an ex-FBI agent who now works for a private intelligence firm. The clients for this firm need protection from eco-terrorists, the idealists who take revenge on big corporate officers and CEOs who have perpetuated injustices against society, whether they have contaminated the water supply or released a pharmaceutical drug that has adverse side effects.
Presumably, Marling and co-writer/director Zal Batmanglij are sympathetic to the movement, which exists in real life (although not usually associated with eco-terrorism) and is referred to as freeganism. They are radical environmentalists who want to end the consumerism and the money-driven economy as it stands now. An outgrowth of the 1960’s hippie movement, which derailed itself with too much emphasis on promiscuous sex and illegal drugs, the freegan manifesto does not seem to officially advocate drugs, communes, or sexual politics.
Freeganists want to live their lives close to nature, with vegan diets and without having to trade their labor for money or trade money for goods. They do this by getting their food from dumpsters (“dumpster diving”) in spite of the danger of bacteria, parasites, and animal droppings. More sensibly, they are outraged by the amount of edible food that is thrown out by major supermarket chains due to the fruits and vegetables being too small or slightly damaged, or the meat and fish nearing the expiration date, a scandal that contributes to the world wastage of one-third of the food supply while people continue to starve to death. Freegans often live as squatters on abandoned properties, a criminal offense, which they say is ethical because it helps relieve the situation regarding the homeless. They resent the emphasis on working full time, often monotonous and soul-deadening, when they say that people who don’t really need to work should spend their time doing volunteer work, communing with family, or doing other more creative and intellectual activities.
In this film, Sarah Moss goes undercover to live in a freegan collective, where she eventually becomes convinced of the value of their work. This entails a major conversion, from working for “The Man” to becoming a revolutionary. Unfortunately, in order to make this movie a suspense thriller, the freeganists in this film are also eco-terrorists, another radical environmental movement where militant individuals are willing to damage property if necessary to make their point, although the kidnapping depicted in this film is extreme eco-terrorism, perhaps even unheard of. In reality, the freeganists are not necessarily eco-terrorists, and they are not dangerous. They are depicted here as living in filth and squalor, without toilets and running water, although Brit Marling’s character is always perfectly groomed and clean-cut. To go undercover, she dyes her dark hair blonde quickly and cheaply in a hotel room, but ends up with a professional dye job complete with highlights. When she goes back to the office and assumes her real identity, her hair remains blonde for the rest of the film. Despite weeks of being undercover, she never shows a hint of roots. It seems that Brit Marling/Sarah Moss is a little too vain about her looks to become as grungy as she should have been in order to fit in. She is not the genuine article.
In any event, in terms of pure ideology, the film is a step in the right direction for raising consciousness about food wastage, corporate responsibility for the environment, and the need for society to develop deeper values and a sense of civic duty that will override consumerism.
Brit Marling turns in a strong performance as does Ellen Page and the entire cast.… Expand
Jun 27, 2013I have to say that this is a very good movie.... I find the acting superb the story line also very good and for this type of suspenseful drama it was beyond antiquate to keep my attention and interest for the entire movie. it provides a lot of fascinating looks at the way we live and how society reacts and acts about some difficult questions that need some answers in regards to our respect of our planet and the people who inhabit it.… Expand
Come the final act, the best political thrillers don't play nice, after all – they twist the knife. This one’s so concerned with making the world a better place, it retracts the blade and wipes it clean
The film keeps its good-evil borders compellingly supple, at least until a wobbly finale that requires Sarah to act like the Hollywood heroine she has so strenuously avoided becoming. It’s a minor blot on a film otherwise propulsively alive with prickly politics.