In the art of self defense we meet Casey who is scared and afraid all the time, but he is not a bad guy. He is a meek, timid nice guy you wouldn’t look at twice who is surrounded by asshole’s. His coworkers are wannabe alpha males constantly talking tough, especially about the boss, and putting down anyone they perceiveas weak. Casey one of only three decent people with lines in the movie the problem for Casey is that he is rejected by them and everyone else, thus is extremely lonely. He wants to make a change but just doesn’t know how and all the people around him are extreme jerks.
After an incident he finds his way to a dojo and wants to learn karate which usually has a positive influence in people’s lives. I myself have taken ninjutsu and I found it to be a great experience. Yes some people were too into it, like Casey at first, but the people in this dojo seen to be a little extra violent. To qoute a character “high levels of testosterone.” There’s just something off about the Sensei’s teaching’s as time goes on. He starts teaching Casey how to be a real man and things go off the rails.
Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Casey is so compelling, you can feel his frustration, fear and growing confidence. Alessandro Nivola is so great as Sensei. Together they play so well against each other. Watching the scenes with Eisenberg and Nivola together were amazing. The color of Casey’s wardrobe was very well done too. He begins the movie wearing beiges and looking very plain and unassuming. As the movie moves on his wardrobe changes with his skill level, matching his belt. Whenever he is emasculated he is back in beige. Such a smart visual cue.
The Art of Self Defense is a lovely, dark, twisted comedy that will appeals to those who like original screenplays. I adored this money and found the ending to be truly hilarious the last fight scene was fabulous. I was so sad that I had to wait this long to see this movie as my theater took forever to show it. But it was worth watching. If you can’t see it in a theater, see it as soon as it comes out c on your streaming service. It is definitely worth supporting independent movies like this!
The Art of Self Defense (US Release Date 3/10/19)
Director Reiley Stearns
Writer Reiley Stearns
Cast Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots, Steve Tereda