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-director Riley 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.