Bleecker Street has released a new trailer for their upcoming dark-comedy, The Art of Self-Defense.
Jesse Eisenberg stars as Casey, an anxiety-riddled individual who wishes to learn karate so that he can become the type of man that would normally intimidate him. It's evocative of Batman Begins' "Bats frighten me. It’s time my enemies share my dread." After being assaulted, he enlists the services of a highly unorthodox Sensei, played by Alessandro Nivola, who sets him on a course of unexpected discovery.
Riley Stearns' previous film Faults was almost unanimously well received so hopes are high for his sophomore effort. It'll be interesting to see how he balances the comedy with the grittier, more violent undertones. Thematically, there is also the potential for this to be a poignant commentary on some timely issues.
Eisenberg is among the best in the business at playing quirky and neurotic characters which makes him seemingly perfect for this role. He and Nivola share a number of funny exchanges in the trailer. They come across as a bizarro version of Daniel and Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid. Imogen Poots co-stars as a young woman who is struggling to find her place in a world of men.
The Art of Self-Defense opens with a limited release July 12.
Here’s the official synopsis:
A dark comedy set in the world of karate. The film centers on Casey (Jesse Eisenberg), who is attacked at random on the street and enlists in a local dojo led by a charismatic and mysterious Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), in an effort to learn how to defend himself. What he uncovers is a sinister world of fraternity, violence and hypermasculinity and a woman (Imogen Poots) fighting for her place in it. Casey undertakes a journey, both frightening and darkly funny, that will place him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor.