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Movie Review: 'The East' finds direction despite thin characters

With “The East,” Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij stay within the “fringe group infiltration” subgenre they explored in 2011's “The Sound of My Voice,” but this time the results are more carefully plotted and the duo creates a more compelling dramatic arc.
Oklahoman Published: June 21, 2013

But co-writers Batmanglij and Marling throw some sharp turns into the story, and Jane/Sarah's ability to improvise escape plans partially makes up for the shallow characterizations of The East and Jason Ritter's thankless job as Marling's boyfriend, who will inevitably feel left out and marginalized. What ultimately makes “The East” more compelling than “The Sound of My Voice” is that there are real stakes: Pollution and corporate malfeasance affect more people than the strange dealings of a small messianic cult. Marling is taking an unusual path in the business by writing and acting in unconventional mysteries, but the shorthand notations passing as characters in “The East” do not do justice to her obvious ambition.

George Lang