Jesse Eisenberg learns (macho) karate in the trailer for The Art of Self-Defense. The Oscar-nominated actor initially made his name playing insecure characters in films like The Squid and the Whale and Adventureland, but has since branched out to play darker variations on the theme in movies as worlds apart as The Social Network and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. He will do so once again this summer, when he portrays a timid bookkeeper who decides to study martial arts in The Art of Self-Defense.
Written and directed by Riley Stearns (who made his debut on 2014's Faults), The Art of Self-Defense follows Casey (Eisenberg), a fellow who decides to join a local karate studio after being attacked one night by a motorcycle gang. Casey is thereafter mentored by his charismatic sensei (Alessandro Nivola) and determined brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), and starts to develop some real confidence in himself. However, everything changes when he attends his teacher's mysterious night class, as seen in the movie's trailer.
With the film's July release date less than two months away, The Art of Self-Defense's marketing is getting fully up and going this week. Bleecker Street has further gone ahead and dropped the official trailer online, as you can see in the space below.
The Art of Self-Defense premiered at SXSW in March and was all-but universally praised by the critics in attendance, as evidenced by the trailer's pull-quotes. Indeed, early reviews describe the film as being a very funny, yet equally thoughtful examination of toxic masculinity, in the vein of movies like Fight Club before it (though, perhaps even funnier and more effective with its satire). The trailer itself offers a small taste of that dark comedy, as it shows Casey following his sensei's lead and doing everything from listening to heavy metal music to not petting his dog, and other absurdly hyper-masculine things. It seems like a perfect addition to Eisenberg's larger body of work about men's emotional fragility, all things considered.
Bleecker Street currently has The Art of Self-Defense scheduled to begin a limited release this summer on Friday, July 12. That's the same day A24 has Lulu Wang's acclaimed Sundance hit The Farewell slated to hit theaters, but there should be room enough for both to start their arthouse runs off strongly that weekend. Eisenberg will also be back this fall with Zombieland: Double Tap (where he reprises his role as Columbus), so it's good to know he plans to continue mixing things up when it comes to the kind of movies where he plays generally neurotic men.
Source: Bleecker Street