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EAST, The

USA, 2013 (MIFF 2013, International Panorama)

Director: Zal Batmanglij

"Fusing the anti-corporate paranoia of ‘70s thrillers like The Parallex View with a more modern, post-Occupy sensibility, [The East is] a triumph: smart, notably uncondescending, utterly gripping … it's more satisfying, and more provocative, than any mainstream drama I've seen so far this year." - SBS Film

Reuniting writer/director Zal Batmanglij with his Sound of My Voice (MIFF 2012) co-writer and actress Brit Marling (Another Earth, MIFF 2011), The East picks up the central idea of their previous film - the infiltration of a cult - and turns it on its head while upping the ante. Marling stars as former FBI agent Sarah, whose job with an elite private intelligence firm sees her going deep undercover with the titular eco-anarchist collective led by the mesmerising Benji (Alexander Skarsgård) and ultimately finding herself torn between two worlds.

Co-produced by Ridley Scott, The East is a gripping, incendiary espionage thriller, driven by a morally complex yet humane story and magnetic performances from a sterling cast that also includes Patricia Clarkson and Ellen Page.

"As the cracklingly cool The East shows, [Marling and Batmanglij are] the real deal. It's not easy to make a thriller where brains and guts are so clearly in cahoots." - New York Daily News

D Zal Batmanglij P Ridley Scott, Michael Costigan, Jocelyn Hayes-Simpson, Brit Marling S Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling Dist Twentieth Century Fox TD DCP/2013

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