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The Art of Self-Defense

(Rated Unclassified 15+)

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Overview

After being attacked on the street by a brutal motorcycle gang, fainthearted bookkeeper Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) signs up with his local karate studio to learn the finer points of protecting himself. Studying under a devilishly charismatic sensei (Alessandro Nivola) and accomplished brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), it’s not long before the somewhat traumatised Casey gains a new sense of confidence and purpose. But when he tags along for one of the studio’s sinister “night classes”, he’s soon introduced to a confronting underworld of fraternity and hyper-masculinity – one that places him squarely at odds with his beloved new mentors.

"The satire is a spinning wheel kick I didn’t see coming. Black belts all around"
— The Globe and Mail
"This singular black comedy balances off-kilter humour with an unexpectedly thriller-esque undercurrent ... all to strikingly original effect"
— Variety
"The movie is as hilarious as it is unpredictable. It emerges as a strong early contender for best film of the year"
— Film Threat

Why You Should See This Film

A pitch-black parody of the contemporary crisis in noxious masculinity, The Art of Self-Defense is a feat of dark and jagged storytelling. Featuring a never-better Jesse Eisenberg and directed with aplomb by Riley Stearns (2014’s cult treat Faults), it’s a genuinely terrifying, blunt-force satire of self-isolation, self-aggrandisement and, indeed, self-defence.

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  • Year: 2019
  • Rating: Unclassified 15+
  • Director: Riley Stearns
  • Cast: Alessandro Nivola, Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots
  • Duration: 104 minutes
  • Language: English
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