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The East 2013 ***

The third of actress Brit Marling’s collaborations with director Zal Batmanglij (Another Earth, The Sound of My Voice) abandons the sci-fi theme in favour of a more grounded conspiracy thriller. Ridley Scott is amongst the producers, but The East is content to work in a minor key. Sarah (Marling) is hired by Sharon (Patricia Clarkson) to infiltrate an anarchist commune run by Benji (Alexander Skarsgard), but the activities she’s involved with make her question what side she’s on. The East is a level-headed consideration of what the motivations for ‘terrorist activity’ might be, and even if it sticks to a conventional thriller storyline, there’s plenty of subversive ideas buried amongst the tense, well-acted scenes.


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