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."
Fox has announced the DVD and Blu-ray release date for The East. The thriller from producer Ridley Scott is set to hit stores on September 17th, 2013. The East will release on both DVD and Blu-ray. For those eager to see it sooner, the movie will release on DigitalHD on September 3rd.
Marling and Batmanglij don’t shy from spotlighting the capitalist practice of hoisting profit margins above ethics, but The East isn’t just an issues pic. It starts like a murky fairy tale, with Sarah accepting transformation – “Drink this,” she’s told, Alice-style – in an off-the-grid forest setting that brings out the stylist in Batmanglij.
And it’s a killer thriller, a point rammed home when the gang conduct a lethal “jam” (targeted protest) at a big pharma party, where Batmanglij’s multi-level direction brings nail-biting tension to a slickly executed personal vendetta.
Another Brit hit, plus Batmanglij is beginning to show dash as director. The duo make a tight fist of hot topicality and high tension from an ideas-packed genre piece.
More than a decade after 9/11, terrorism has become pop culture’s dirty little secret of escapist fantasy. Almost every year now, a new film comes along that glorifies or tantalizes its audience with the forbidden taste of wanton destruction. Whether in the shape of Joker, Bane, Javier Bardem or this summer’s reinvention of Khan, audiences like a macabre tale that lets them revel in a society set on fire, before a moralistic coda reassures them that they are above such nihilistic cravings.
Director Zal Batmanglij and his co-writer/leading lady Brit Marling seek to offer no such easy ethics or comforting answers in their eco-terrorist flick, The East. Opening today in select cities, the creative duo paints a vividly real world where punkish anarchism gives way to a disquieting retaliation against the “One Percent.” If this beatnik group of revolutionaries should be considered chilling villains or heroic protagonists will depend entirely on each individual viewer.