This time on Weekend Trailer Roundup, let’s start with The East, the upcoming thriller from director Zal Batmanglij.
It’s hard not to be put off by each and every cliche in this trailer. The wealthy executive as a symbol for greed and power. The heroine who intends to undermine a ragtag rebel group (known only as the East) only to fall hopelessly in love with their leader. Harsh warnings from higher-ups that if the East finds out her true motives, the consequences will be catastrophic. The more story this trailer gives away, the more boilerplate the film seemingly becomes.
Yet somehow, the less overt elements of the trailer promise something much more unique. Flashes of footage shot in night-vision and from handheld phones hint at a very down-to-earth film style. Similarly, there is a simplicity in the lives of the eco-terrorist group suggested by images of train-hopping, shanty towns and childhood games like spin-the-bottle. This simplicity gives the impression that The East is wholeheartedly an indie film, yet the basic plot laid out in the trailer is that of a slick Hollywood thriller. What The East seems to be selling is a peculiar pastiche of the two genres, but whether the mixing of the two is successful remains to be seen. If this trailer is any indication, The East may be a very clever film that suffers from being molded unnaturally into a run-of-the-mill thriller.