The East (Blu-ray Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 2 Old 09-23-2013, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 116 minutes
Genre: Drama/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson
Directed by: Zal Batmanglj
Music by: Halli Cauthery
Written by: Zal Batmanglj & Brit Marling
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 17, 2013

"Spy on us, we’ll spy on you"

Film Synopsis:

Sarah Moss (Marling) is an ambitious new recruit at an elite private intelligence firm. Her first undercover assignment is to infiltrate “The East,” an elusive activist collective that terrorizes corporate leaders who commit crimes against humanity. The more involved she gets, the more Sarah’s life is in danger

My Take:

Agent Sarah Moss is starting a new career at Hiller Brood, an elite private intelligence agency that protects the rather specific interests of its A-list corporate clientele. Handpicked for a new assignment by the company's top brass, Sarah goes deep undercover to infiltrate The East, an elusive and crafty anarchist collective seeking revenge against major corporations guilty of beneficially working the system and covering up misdeeds/activities that leaves victims in its wake. Determined, highly-trained and resourceful, Sarah soon ingratiates herself with the group, overcoming their initial suspicions and joining them on their next action or "jam." But living closely with the intensely committed members of The East, Sarah finds herself torn between her two worlds as she bonds with the group, its charismatic leader Benji (Alexander Skarsgård) and awakens to the moral contradictions of her personal life.

The East is a fairly straight forward politically themed thriller that conceptually speaking is nothing we haven’t seen before. The narrative raises moral questions and has a bit of social commentary that is most definitely of the eco-friendly variety. Having said that I didn’t find that its message got in the way as the film quickly setup the characters/plot and went to work. The script does a nice job balancing the film’s elements and churns to a foamy lather that revolves engaging suspense, humanity and Sarah’s identity crisis. There are one or two single eyebrow raising moments but it stays on point proving to be fairly entertaining right through to the final moments which depending on your tolerance for “forced” endings might leave you disappointed. I found the ending didn’t live up to what preceded it but enjoyed the film nevertheless. Drawn primarily as an intimate character study derived from a formulaic premise it all comes together and makes for a solid thriller.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements, violence, some disturbing images, sexual content and partial nudity.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

The East comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 36 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.5 Mbps.

This high definition presentation was on par with other new release films of its type and generally looked great. Colors were natural looking with a pleasing and reserved quality that capably handled the somewhat limited palette used to represent the period settings and clothing featured in the film. Flesh tones varied a bit with some appearing warm and lifelike while others were sullen with pallid characteristics. Contrast was tamped down but stable and images were well detailed and crisp, with sharp lines and appreciable dimension. Blacks weren’t inky but had good dynamic range and detail in shadowy backgrounds and low level sequences had estimable visibility which enhanced depth. This high bitrate encoding was rendered with pristine quality that didn’t exhibit any overt signs of compression related anomalies or deleterious artifacts.

This lossless DTS-HD Master Audio encoding readily handled the elements contained in this dialogue driven film. The presentation retained a front loaded perspective with well defined and clearly articulated dialogue that extended well into the room. Sounds and music were reproduced with refining clarity and appropriate dynamism. Surround activity was limited to rear channel spatial cues and occasional directional sounds. It was a fine match with the source material and never felt inadequate

Bonus Features:

  • (HD)Exclusive 3 deleted scenes and alternate ending

  • (HD) Behind the scenes (6 segments totaling 18 minutes):
    1. Exclusive The East exposed
    2. Exclusive Off the grid: creating The East
    3. Exclusive Casting The East
    4. Two Brothers: Collaboration
    5. Cause & Effect: The movement of The East
    6. Examining the moral gray
  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Co-written by star Brit Marling and director Zal Batmanglj The East is a formulaic politically themed thriller that revolves around a character driven narrative and eco-friendly context that capably gels into a decent film. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition audio/video and a middling supplemental package. The East is worth checking out so toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin on Blu-ray.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
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post #2 of 2 Old 09-25-2013, 07:15 AM
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Very interesting...I passed this one up the other night to watch World War Z instead...I may need to check this out out next given your review.
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