Monday, June 10, 2013

"The East": Brit Marling can follow in order to lead; the indignation of the far Left (not just eco-terrorists)

Everybody knows that Brit Marling is tough and charismatic, and commanding of the souls who fall under her spell.  Brit has joined with director Zat Batmangli to write a thriller about eco-terrorism and left wing indignation, “The East”, which I saw late Sunday at Landmark E Street near DC Pride Fest.

‘The film opens with what looks like home invasions on Long Island energy executives (that’s probably not where they would live – as in ABC’s series “Revenge” – and I have to say that Brit is on a par with Emily Vam Camp).  The group rattles off its rhetoric, that those who get rich at the expense of the labor of others or by destroying the environments of others deserve anything (outside the law) that can be served up.  That may get to be elaborated to include any upper middle class consumer who doesn’t see the sacrifices that it took to produce what he “enjoys” – and perhaps uses to get out of things.  My mother even used to worry about that.  And I’ve mentioned before here how I dabbled around with Dr. Spock’s People’s Party of New Jersey early in my adulthood.  I know the mindset, and it is scary. “We are The East”.  And that doesn’t mean MLB’s American League East.

Brit plays Sarah, who is ‘hired by fibbies (although through a Beltway Bandit-style contractor) to go undercover and infiltrate the group.  She demonstrates her physical skills in dealing with stuff in escaping from a railroad freight car lockup, and winds up in the woods undergoing the rituals of sharing to belong to the group.  (This time Brit obeys, rather than gives orders, as in “Sound of My Voice”.  It’s not too hard to see what can happen – she can fall for a handsome man (Alexander Skarsgard) there.

In time, we see what the group is capable of.  There’s a dinner scene where an activist says, “you know the saying, two wrongs don’t make a right.  Well, that’s only if you’ve never been wronged”.  She then gives a business executive an injection in the thigh (probably bald from suit chafing).  Other executives are threatened with being drowned in their own cesspools.  (On the “two wrongs” thing, I remember a conversation about that very point in Cartersville, GA in 1998, at Advocates for Self-Government.)

I think a good question posed by the film is why private contractors are used for intelligence work. That's going to come up in connection with the Edward Snowden and Booz Allen Hamilton affair, just unfolding (and surely likely to become the subject of a future documentary).   
The official site for the film is here  (Fox Searchlight). The film, despite its independent branding for distribution, was made by Scott Free Productions (Ridley Scott).  


The film makes effective use of Washington DC area locations (especially the canal in Georgetown) as well as the bayous of Louisiana.  

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