Director: Jim Taihuttu
Writer: Mustafa Duygulu, Jim Taihuttu (Screenplay)
Starring: Martijn Lakemeier, Marwan Kenzari, Jonas Smulders, Abel van Gijlswijk, Coen Bril, Reinout Scholten van Aschat
Plot: A young Dutch soldier deployed to suppress post-WWII independence efforts in the Netherlands’ colony of Indonesia finds himself torn between duty and conscience when he joins an increasingly ruthless commander’s elite squad.
Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The East starts as we meet the young Dutch soldier Johan de Vries (Lakemeier) who has been deployed to Indonesia in an attempt to supress the post-WWII independence efforts in the Netherlands colony.
As Johan learns the Dutch military are just doing the basics to show control, he starts to turn to a man Raymond ‘The Turk’ Westerling (Kenzari) who lives outside of the military protection, a man that will lead a special group of soldiers in fighting back against the rebels.
Thoughts on The East
Characters & Performances – Johan de Vries is the young solider in the Dutch military, deployed to Indonesia to help protect the peace from the rebels fighting for independence, finding the routine wondering around the military base boring, until he meets a local begging for help. He learns that there is a darker side to the Dutch involvement, one that he finds himself getting involved in, see the true horrors of being part of a military invasion. Martijn Lakemeier does an excellent job showing the transformation that Johan goes through during the film, despite his character having a secret. Raymond Westerling is the outsider soldier that shows no fear in the land, he leads an elite group of soldiers who are looking to solve the problems before they become the threats they are scared they will become. Marwan Kenzari does bring us a ruthless performance, one that shows the leadership in the darker side of the war. When it comes to the supporting cast, everyone does a solid job, which is mostly filling the roles you would come to expect within this type of movie.
Story – The story here follows a young Dutch soldier who finds himself in a post-World War II deployment in Indonesia in the fight to stop the battle for independence, only to find himself going down a path he isn’t prepared for. This is a story that bring the hard hitting reality of war, how somebody thinks they might be doing the right thing, only to learn how people have used the position for their own desires. This story doesn’t show us enough of the history lesson about what happened between the two countries, which is disappointing, as it does feel like it is important to learn about. When it comes to the raw look of the soldier experience, it does shine though.
Themes – The East is a war drama that shows one soldier’s journey in the Dutch army in Indonesia in the battle to try and gain independence. The locations show us the horrors of the war, with each one putting Johan through a new traumatic experience.
Blue Finch Film Releasing presents The East on Digital Download 4 October
Final Thoughts – The East is a drama that shows just how horrific the war was on anyone involved.