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The Art of Self-Defense (2019)

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2:29 | Trailer
A man is attacked at random on the street. He enlists at a local dojo, led by a charismatic and mysterious sensei, in an effort to learn how to defend himself.

Director:

Riley Stearns

Writer:

Riley Stearns
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1,456 ( 854)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jesse Eisenberg ... Casey
Alessandro Nivola ... Sensei
Imogen Poots ... Anna
Steve Terada ... Thomas
Phillip Andre Botello ... Kennith
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Caroline Amiguet ... French Audio Instructor (voice)
Apollo Bacala ... Karate Day Class Student
Hauke Bahr ... Grant
Jason Burkey ... Alex
Justin Eaton ... Lone Man
Dallas Edwards ... Manny
Will Ellis Jr. Will Ellis Jr. ... Night Class Student
Josh Fadem ... Serial Killer
John French ... Office Worker
Darren Gaebel Darren Gaebel ... Karate Night Class Student
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Storyline

After he's attacked on the street at night by a roving motorcycle gang, timid bookkeeper Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself. Under the watchful eye of a charismatic instructor, Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), Casey gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time in his life. But when he attends Sensei's mysterious night classes, he discovers a sinister world of fraternity, brutality and hyper-masculinity, presenting a journey that places him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor. Written by Bleecker Street

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

self defence | sensei | dojo | See All (3) »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sexual content, graphic nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

13 September 2019 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

The Art of Self-Defense See more »

Filming Locations:

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$114,374, 14 July 2019

Gross USA:

$2,410,914
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

End Cue See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was shot in Kentucky See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning of the end credits, the show's "title logo" is shown in a "black metal" font, mirroring the front cover of the CD Casey buys (albeit in yellow). See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Art of Self-Defense (2019)
17 July 2019 | by rockman182See all my reviews

When I first saw the trailer for this film I knew I had to see it. It looked like it was going to be a wonderful dark comedy centered around karate of all things. I've never heard of the filmmaker of this movie but the idea of Jesse Eisenberg learning karate to fend off bullies and delivering deadpan delivery is alluring in and of itself. The film manages to blend its comedy and thrills extremely well and is a really good time all around. I was unsure about the closing stages of the film but it is certainly a remarkably entertaining and unique time.

The film is about a timid accountant who one day is mugged and beaten severely by a motorcycle gang. He decides that he wants to learn how to defend himself and stumbles across a karate gym that immediately intrigues him. He meets a very bizarre Sensei and quickly tries to assimilate the skills he learns to improve all aspects of his life and become more manly. Little does he know the darkness within the underworld of this karate world.

I loved Eisenberg's character in this. To see his character progress and to watch the confidence grow, its a joy. The Sensei character is also so entertaining. The films script is so sharp in all the right places. Even the serious moments are funny because of the dark comedic writing. That makes it worthwhile. Its also refreshing to see a look into the world of karate and the growth in stature in the art, whether this film plays it to be factual or makes up stuff.

As the film was winding down you felt the twists and turns coming and also hope the film doesn't fall apart. Luckily, it doesn't and manages to stay intact with respect to the tone of the first half of the film. This may fly under a lot of people's radars but I wish for everyone to go and see this.I don't think I've actually seen anything quite like this before. Its unique in its nature and has fun with a very creative plot.

8/10


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