The Art of Self-Defense

Release Date: July 12th, 2019

R |1 hr 44 min

Plot Summary

After a brutal mugging, a man takes up karate to better defend himself but soon falls under the spell of the dojo's enigmatic leader.

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots, Jason Burkey, Phillip Andre Botello, Steve Terada, Leland Orser, David Zellner

Director: Riley Stearns

Genres: Dark comedy

Production Co: End Cue

Ratings & Reviews

  • 70
    David SimsThe Atlantic

    Eisenberg, Nivola, and a hilariously brusque Imogen Poots (as Sensei’s only female student) are more than up to the task of finding the comedy in scenes of nasty violence or brooding anxiety. Stearns, however, is less interested in balancing those tones than he is in exploiting their uneasy tension. show more

  • 70
    John DeForeThe Hollywood Reporter

    While the beats of its plot may be nothing very new, the tone, language and performances here make Self-Defense its own beast. show more

  • 90
    Joe MorgensternWall Street Journal

    The film as a whole feels audacious and original, a case study of violence begetting more of the same, and Mr. Eisenberg is ideally cast as the soul of fearfulness, as well as the embodiment of mixed motives that include courage, lust for power and revenge. show more

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