The Art of Self-Defense

USA 2019. dir. Riley Stearns. 104 mins.

Opens July 19 Select Theatres across Canada

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This wasn´t too bad of a film. Jesse Eisenberg (Casey), a timid bookkeeper who´s attacked on the street at night by a motorcycle gang, joins a neighbourhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself.

After meeting charismatic instructor, Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), Casey gains a sense of confidence for the first time in his life. But when he attends Sensei's mysterious night classes, he discovers a sinister world of brutality and hyper-masculinity.

I´d label the film somewhat audacious and offbeat,

Although it´s labelled as ¨dark comedy¨, I found it more of a mystery crime thriller. There was some dry kind of humor which probably gave it the ¨comedy¨ nomenclature, but the whole concept of "macho" hyper-masculinity dissipates at the close of the film.

© 2019 Ed Farolan