Noah J Nelson on Thursday, May. 30th
Sound of My Voice was one of the more interesting films to come out of Sundance in the past few years. A collaboration between filmmaker Zal Batmanjli and writer/actor Brit Marling, it was a low-fi sci-fi about a couple who infiltrates a cult to uncover it's strange secret.
Batmanjli and Marling are back together with a new film that treads on resonant territory: The East. This time they've managed to use their festival success to attract a stellar cast: Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood), Patricia Clarkson (Shutter Island) and Ellen Page (Juno) join Marling in this thriller about a corporate spy who infiltrates an anarchist collective that attacks the leaders of big companies.
While I'm not floored by the trailer I trust Batmanjli and Marling to deliver material that will make me think. Sound of My Voice was a special thing, a film that I've grown more fond of with time, even if I still hate that they left us on a kind of cliffhanger. It sits out on the edges of pop culture with Mulholland Drive as one of those great sinister LA stories.
The East feels a bit more conventional than that. A piece of work that is riffing on the societal tensions reflected in the Occupy and Anonymous movements, not to mention the protests against Monsanto that have been gaining traction without any mainstream press coverage.
The Batmanjli/Marling team is one worth supporting, which is why The East–and not one of the 8 billion other films opening this weekend–is my choice for this edition of The Weekender.
Follow Noah Nelson on Twitter (@noahjnelson)