Jesse Eisenberg at his most Jesse Eisenberg-y. In this film he plays Casey; a timid and socially awkward accountant. When Casey is attacked at random, he enlists in a local dojo led by the mysterious Sensei in an effort to learn how to defend himself.
Imogen Poots plays Anna, an expert in Karate who is yet to earn her black belt. As Sensei says, ‘She’s too much of a woman to ever become a man.’
Casey’s journey into the dark underbelly of Karate satirises toxic masculinity, poking fun at the lengths some men will go to be the ‘Alpha.’
Although violent and surprisingly dark, The Art of Self-Defense is hilarious from start to finish. Its dry humour and casual absurdism may not appeal to every audience, but I personally was a big fan.
I went into this completely blind expecting a low-stakes indie movie, and was surprised by how good this was. Definitely one to add to the NZIFF watch list.
8/10: Zuckerberg gonna fuck your shit up