‘The Art of Self Defense’ Trailer: An Ass-Whooped Jesse Eisenberg Joins a Karate Dojo

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“I want to be what intimidates me.”

So says Casey, the lead character in upcoming dark comedy The Art of Self Defense. Jesse Eisenberg stars in the film, which tells the story of a man who decides to enter the world of karate after he is attacked at random on the street. He signs up to a dojo and soon finds himself in the sights of its mysterious Sensei (Alessandro Nivola).

This is the second feature from writer-director Riley Stearns, who delivered an almost-very good film with his under-seen 2014 debut Faults (our review of that one is HERE). Way more eyes could be on The Art of Self Defense, which has a very intriguing teaser trailer that hints at strong performances from Eisenberg and Nivola, and a comedy-drama-thriller juggle that will likely be keeping you on your toes. Count us in.

The Art of Self Defense, also starring Imogen Poots, will have its premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin and is scheduled to hit US cinemas on June 21.

Official synopsis for The Art of Self-Defense:

A dark comedy set in the world of karate. The film centers on Casey (Jesse Eisenberg), who is attacked at random on the street and enlists in a local dojo led by a charismatic and mysterious Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), in an effort to learn how to defend himself. What he uncovers is a sinister world of fraternity, violence and hypermasculinity and a woman (Imogen Poots) fighting for her place in it. Casey undertakes a journey, both frightening and darkly funny, that will place him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor.

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