THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE – “Napoleon Dynamite meets Fight Club”
After getting attacked on the street, Casey enlists in a local dojo that's led by a charismatic and mysterious sensei. He soon uncovers a sinister fraternity of violence and masculinity while learning how to defend himself.
How to describe The Art of Self-Defense? Well, it’s bold, offbeat, brutal, and yet hilarious. It’s basically Napoleon Dynamite meets Fight Club, and frankly, it all works gloriously. Yes siree, what we have here is a super straight-faced dark comedy that dishes out a bonkers story tinged with all kinds of social commentaries. Most notably, the film rather bluntly speaks on “toxic masculinity” and all that it entails. There are also themes centered around radicalization, vigilantism, and misogyny. I mean, who knew such a bizarre satire would have so much to say? But perhaps the real treat here is Jesse Eisenberg’s pitch perfect performance, as he goes from bullied nerd to empowered alpha in expertly nuanced fashion! Trust me when I say that it’s all very entertaining to take in. The story is also full of some unexpected surprises, and just when you think you know what’s up, Stearns throws you for another loop. Admittedly though, a bit of restraint could probably have been used in the madness that is the third act. All that to say, this film is not going to be for everyone, but if you are looking for something a little different this Summer, The Art of Self-Defense easily wins the fight!