Jane Owen (Brit Marling) is an executive in an intelligence company that does business with industry leaders in every sector of the economy. Jane wins a coveted promotion and is sent undercover to infiltrate an eco-terrorist group known as ‘The East’, which has been giving CEOs a taste of their own medicine.
At first, Jane, known to the group as Sarah, gets to report the group's activities via a carefully concealed phone, but the sudden exodus of a member forces Jane to take a more active role in the organization. As she gets more prominent roles, she also becomes emotionally immersed in those people's lives, until it becomes problematic for Jane to keep both of her lives separate.
The East is a taut, very provocative thriller about eco-terrorism, but it's also a study into a cult- like group and how a charismatic character can shape or bend circumstances at will under the cover of defending a cause. In that respect, or at all, The East doesn't disappoint.
The screenplay, direction and especially the acting are superb. The East is gritty, and very, very serious. It is the kind of movie that makes you think and question the validity of both sides' arguments and tactics.
Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page and Patricia Clarkson co-star.