The Art of Self-Defense Explores the Absurd Horrors of Masculinity

Article here. Excerpt:

'This tonal muddle is appropriate to the state of the American psyche in 2019, when fury and rage are constant factors in every kind of discourse and seemingly empty threats can be hard to separate from real danger. The Art of Self-Defense, which follows Casey’s transformation from mild-mannered office drone to terrifying street vigilante, functions as an update of Fight Club, 20 years on. Whereas that earlier film saw its disaffected Generation X protagonists get in touch with their violent instincts as a form of catharsis, The Art of Self-Defense posits that these days, men do not have to dig deeply to find their inner brutes.

Casey Davies (played by Jesse Eisenberg), the protagonist of The Art of Self-Defense, is afraid—of other men, in particular. “I want to be what intimidates me,” he tells Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), the soft-spoken, self-assured instructor at a local karate dojo who seems to be everything Casey isn’t. Riley Stearns’s new film is a parable about Casey’s fraught ideals of masculinity that veers between goofy parody and rather straightforward horror. The script prods the audience to laugh as Casey begins his absurd journey toward becoming more intimidating, then suddenly swivels into more frightening territory.'

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Fuck with my cats and they won't be able to identify you w/out your dental records. I'll beat you down then drive my ankle repeatedly into your skull until the color of the floor is a mix of cerebral white and blood red.

So yeah, the movie's right on that whole "inner brute" thing.

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