East of Eden is a direct and significant movie, yet it is not a valuable commentary on the Biblical story of Kayin and Hevel. The movie and the story both depict the same characters and feelings, but the storyline is different. The Biblical version portrays the relationships and competitions between two brothers. Both present an offering to God and due to jealousy and rage Kayin murders his brother, Hevel. However, in East of Eden, Cal feels he must compete against overwhelming odds with his brother Aron for the love of their father, Adam. Even though, both brothers are challenging one another for the highest rank and the theme of jealousy relates, the stories are different leading to contrasting outcomes.
Certain elements of the film attempt to act as a commentary on the Biblical story. The plot, camera, setting and lighting add vivid input into the film, yet it does not reenact the Torah story precisely. The plot of this film is set in California during World War One. Adam Trask is a ranch owner in Salinas Valley. He is a righteous and noble man whose respect in the community is undiminished even after a disastrous business experiment. Everyone around Adam seems to be happy except his son Cal who is a troubled young man who is always jealous of the love and attention received by Aron. His jealousy is recently inflamed with his feelings towards Aron's girlfriend Abra as well as with frustrating discovery of his mother, Kathie, who is an owner of a whorehouse in nearby town. In Cal's mind, the only way to earn love and respect of his father lies in a business adventure that would compensate for his father's recent losses. His scheme includes borrowing money from his mother and investing in beans is successful, but it actually causes more pain and grief. Moreover, the camera plays a significant role in desperately recording Cal's every twist and turn of emotion. Early in the movie, Cal's father sits across a long table instructing Cal to read from the Bible.