What If: Daniel LaRusso, as played by Jesse Eisenberg, never met Mr. Miyagi but instead joined a back-alley Cobra Kai in his mid-thirties?
The Art of Self-Defense presents such a well constructed fantasy world of bad information that when something true or useful slips in it’s disconcerting, but the calculated gradual release of kernels of truth accumulate and what initially appears to be shallow satire becomes a much richer and smarter and more nuanced experience.
“Art of Self Defense” Might Be the Dark Comedy of the Summer
To date, this might be the Jesse Eisenberg’s most perfect role. The terrified man desperately seeking to become what he fears in this offbeat, deliciously dark comedic morality tale (throw a bit of existential absurdity in there as well) is something Eisenberg truly shines as in The Art of Self-Defense. Additionally, Alessandro Nivola has a perfect turn as psycho villain sensei and so does Imogen Poots with her renegade protégé character.
This latest feature from writer-directorRiley Stearns has bits of the quietly menacing humor that you might get from The Square or Computer Chess, making it all the more refreshing in this season of big-budget-tentpole fatigue. There are times you might wonder if you’re in a more sinister universe in the movie or if it’s a cheeky mirror of our own, which works to great comic effect.
Above all, The Art of Self-Defense scorches the idea of masculinity on so many levels. So, we’d say go catch whenever and wherever you can.
Oh yeah, The Art of Self-Defense comes out in limited release starting this weekend on July 12th. Find showtimes here.
The Art of Self-Defense Trailer Promises a Deliciously Wry Dark Comedy
It has been more than a decade since we’ve gotten a great dark comedy centered around taking and giving martial arts lessons (i.e. The Foot Fist Way came out in 2006).
Yet, from the looks of this trailer of Riley Stearns’ The Art of Self Defense, we’ve got a wonderfully dark, subtly ridiculous comedy that perhaps put Jesse Eisenberg in a perfect role as a man desperate to conquer his fears of other men via ‘strip-mall karate’.
If you’re digging it, look for The Art of Self-Defense to come out in theaters in July.