The East believe in an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
The East Blu-ray ReviewWriter-Director Zal Batmanglij teams up once more with Co-Writer and Star, Brit Marling, for their sophomore tag-team feature. The East is a gritty, corporate-espionage thriller that probes deep into the issues surrounding unethical activities of multi-billion dollar giant corporations. Following the success of their festival knock-out, The Sound of my Voice, we take a look at whether the dynamic duo are the real deal, or whether their first success was a jammy fluke.
The East Blu-ray Picture QualityLanding with a decent 2.35:1 AVC 1080p region A and B locked disc, I was impressed overall, with only one or two minor gripes. First of all, the scenes with news reports seemed overly processed. It felt as though they'd been pushed slightly too far with their faked image retention and over-zealous noise - it felt faked. Besides this, there were a couple of occasions in low light scenes that showed some signs of crushing in the blacks and some severe noise on the image. Though present, these problems shouldn't put you off what is otherwise a very decent image. Colours are well balanced with a some delicate grading that adds a vague greenish tint to the picture. Blacks are, on the whole, rich and strong and leave little to be desired in that area. Contrast is all right and proper, and the overall sharpness of the image is good with no signs of edge enhancements at all – probably due to the fact they were using Arri Alexa cameras which are renowned for their filmic qualities combined with a sharp and natural looking image. To sum it up, The East looks good. It's sharp, natural and impressive with only very minor bug-bears that are largely attributable to slightly over zealous post production.
The East Blu-ray Sound Quality
The East boasts a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio presentation that, despite the promise of high-quality suggested by the lossless surround audio track, is not without some major problems. These issues don't in any way ruin the movie, but they need mentioning. Firstly, the whole audio track is pretty quiet. Measuring an average of -25LUFS which is considerably lower than many Blu-ray movies out there.
Then there's some problems with the dialogue mix along the way, most notably when the group are howling at the moon in the car – there's some moderate clipping present. Though quite a significant issue for a supposedly high quality format, these problems aren't persistent and only occur once in a while. I wouldn't let them put you off though. Besides this, the general mix is pretty good, with some interesting and explorative approaches to surround ambiences that really lend a feeling of life to the forest scenery and give your rear speakers a nice easy run. Dialogue is mixed reasonably well against the background of foley and music and, once the overall volume was loud enough, it was clear and intelligible. Generally speaking, there's a lack of dynamic range on show, and high frequencies are slightly lack-lustre, but besides the problems outlined above, the audio presentation is acceptable. Though I've been critical here, please don't let the problems with the sound mix I've outlined put you off too much.
The East Blu-ray ExtrasA decent selection of short featurettes make up the extras on the disc. I'll be honest, none of them really thrilled or excited me, and barring a glimpse behind the scenes, I didn't find anything of much interest on the whole. That said, there's plenty of it for those who value a lot of this surplus stocking-filler.
Theatrical Behind the Scenes
Two Brothers: Collaboration
Cause and Effect: The Movement of The East
Examining the Moral Grey
The East Exposed: The Story
Off the Grid: Creating The East
Casting The East
Deleted Scenes x 4
Is The East Blu-ray Worth BuyingThe East delivers a convincing and authentic piece that's clearly designed to make it's audience question the ethics of modern day living. It manages some success in this area too whilst simultaneously maintaining a real indie feel. It boasts a great cast who clearly care a lot about the subject matter and it's undoubtedly a worthy contender for top spot when Kelly Reichardt's Night Moves blasts on to our screens next year. Definitely one to put a little time aside for.
In terms of the Blu-ray package it could be a lot worse too with good solid scores for sound and picture, and plenty of extras for those interested. It's a no brainer - go grab yourself a copy. Recommended.
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