The East

Rated 2.0

An agent for a private security firm (Brit Marling) infiltrates an anarchist cell making guerrilla strikes on corporate malefactors, and she finds her priorities shifting into alignment with theirs. Written by Marling and director Zal Batmanglij, the movie wears its grungy, self-conscious naturalism the way 1960s weekend hippies used to wear their love beads and bell-bottom jeans, as if it were a badge of authenticity. The actors—including Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page and Patricia Clarkson, who should know better—speak in mutters, mumbles and whispers of the sort employed more by self-absorbed actors than real people. The total effect is affected, annoying and off-putting. Marling's current indie vogue is hard to explain; flat and expressionless, she makes Kristen Stewart look like Meryl Streep.