MIFF: The Art of Self-Defense

Comedy Drama


After being mugged and hospitalised, a man joins a karate dojo to learn how to protect himself.

"The Art of Self-Defense" is satirical and dark and has a lot to say about masculine roles. There are also many laugh-aloud moments but the delivery of the humour is as awkward as the central character. It's all a part of the deliberately dry and deadpan tone maintained throughout the movie, and not nearly as disturbing as the regular bursts of extreme and unprovoked violence. Overall, it comes close to working but induces too many involuntary flinches. A yellow belt.

Anne Murphy

MIFF 2019
104 mins