The trailer for The Art of Self-Defense reveals a new take on the traditional martial arts action film. The movie stars Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Zombieland) as shy and fearful accountant Casey Davies who seeks out a way to overcome his fears of others and instead become that which he has most feared.
Following a vicious attack by a motorcycle gang that leaves him bloody and unconscious in an alley, Casey is forever changed by the traumatic event. Tired of being intimidated by other men, Casey joins the local karate studio to learn how to defend himself. There he begins a meaningful journey under the eye of Sensei (Alessandro Nivola) and meets Anna (Imogen Poots), a brown belt and the only female member of the dojo.
However, the path is not quite as easy as Casey thought, and during these night classes, he finds himself in Sensei’s hyper-masculine, fraternity-like world. Described as a “dark comedy that takes toxic masculinity to absurd extremes,” it is certain to be a wild ride from start to finish.
“The story initially came from my practice of jiu-jitsu,” says creator and director Riley Stearns in a press release. “Before I started doing jiu-jitsu, I was a very different person. I wasn’t as healthy as I am now, and I was much lazier. Like the lead character in The Art of Self-Defense, I’d reached a point in my life where I was searching for something that really meant a lot to me, and that something was martial arts.”
Check out the trailer below for a glimpse at the The Art of Self-Defense and catch it in theaters nationwide July 19.