Jeremy of The Daily Rotation wrote, "Director Zal Batmanglij re-teams with writer/actress Brit Marling for the extreme environmentalist thriller The East. The film follows a group of anarchists as they attempt to pay back the big corporations and companies that have wronged many people in exchange for millions of dollars. Batmanglij’s The East isn’t nearly as gripping or as interesting as the plot suggests, instead focusing on slow predictability, which is harnessed by a grouping of subtle performances and writing without much punch. The scariest thing about The East is the fact that one could simply fall asleep while watching the film and wake up without having missed anything of real importance. It’s a film that thinks it has a message, but ends up forgetting it twenty minutes in."