The trailer for The East, the new film from writer-director Zal Batmanglij, feels a little like Ellen Page’s attempt to break free of the shackles of preciousness. While there are very few actual images of Page in the trailer, if the voiceover she provides is any indication, she probably doesn’t spend the film drawing mazes while dressed in ugly tweed vests or quipping ironically about her teenage pregnancy. And that’s because she plays a member of a group of radical environmentalist vigilantes who are very unironically bent on making corporate polluters pay for their crimes. (From the trailer, it looks like the crimes she’s talking about are mainly committed against one oil-covered bird in particular.)
The East has already worked up quite a buzz at Sundance due largely to star and co-writer Brit Marling, who plays an agent for a security firm charged with infiltrating the titular gang of angry treehuggers. Her mission is complicated, of course, when she begins to fall for Benji (Alexander Skarsgard), the group’s mysterious, roguishly handsome leader. But where does infiltration end and indoctrination begin? How will she reconcile her job with her duty? Is she in too deep? Probably!