THE EAST Movie Review, Themes & Memes Ep39


On this episode, we look at the 2013 Indie Spy Drama, 'The East', Directed by Zal Batmanglij.

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The film follows corporate intelligence operative 'Jane' (played by co-writer Brit Marling) as she is tasked with infiltrating a radical anarchist cell who have been attacking high profile industrialists in retaliation for their corporate crimes. Calling themselves 'The East', the group operates on an 'eye for an eye' strategy, targeting high level corporate executives with specific acts of violence to mirror the suffering of their victims. 

After forging her cover identity and blending into the nomadic underground of anarchist drifters, 'Sarah' finds herself at the The East's secret headquarters and eventually adopts an active role within the group. As her time undercover wears on though, she begins to feel split loyalties between The East and her corporate employers; questioning her conservative worldview and developing genuine sympathy for the group and their anarchic cause. 

But despite her political awakening and her growing loyalty to The East, Jane soon finds that all is not what it seems.

We discuss the many strong points of the film, being an independently written story with well conceived plot devices and engrossing character development; where the clash of political ethos and social attitudes conveys a number of complex perspectives. We explore questions of perception and self-interest, looking at the contrast between ideas of consumerism and freeganism, and how wilful ignorance allows corruption to flourish. 

We also touch on the bohemian, pragmatic outlook of both the corporate establishment and the off-grid anarchists, where the ends justify the means and the notion of self-righteousness becomes an end unto itself. 

Is industrial crime a question of conspiracy or ignorance, and what actions are justified in stopping it?

Topics discussed include: Hiller Brood, Private Intelligence, Infiltration, Undercover, Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Anarchists, Conservative, Consumerism, Materialism, Capitalism, Ignorance, Conspiracy, Industry, Pollution, Environmentalism, Freeganism, Rail Riding, Dumpster Diving, Squatting, Nomads, Big Pharma, Oil, Medications, Corruption, Sympathy, Terrorism, Lifestyles, Perception, Perspective, Loyalty, Revolution, Conflict, Females, Gender, Interpretation, Indie Films, Characters, Love Triangle, Economics, Espionage, Politics, Wastefulness, Direct Action, Jams, Radicalism, Violence, Food, FBI, Ethics, Bohemian, Cold War, Far-Left, Corporations, Pragmatism, Crime, Executives, Military-Industrial Complex, Competition, Publicity, Rationalism, Trump, Comfort, Security, Nature, Consequences, Victims, Spaghetti, Pasta, Meatballs.   


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 Musical Accompaniment

 The Meatballs, by Bread Harrity

(better listen to the whole episode here to get in on the joke)