What ever happened to truth, justice, and the American way?
The Art of Self-Defense is a darkly comical and at times horrifying meditation on the dangers of toxic masculinity. About as quickly as it devolves into a horrifying nightmare, it is quick to crack a joke about the mundanity of everyday life. Jesse Eisenberg's Casey is faced with an incredible conflict: does he continue living his life as it is, and be the loser everyone perceives him to be? Or does he man up, become a master of martial arts, and become the very thing he hates?
This film is about resolving to live somewhere in-between those extremes. Not being the best, but being... enough.
There is an old fable which tells that a frog placed in already boiling water will jump out immediately, but when the frog is placed in room temperature water that is brought to a boil slowly, it will remain in the water as if nothing is wrong, until it eventually dies.
This is that, but a movie. And in Sweden. And also it’s not about frogs.
Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary is constructed much differently, for an entirely different purpose.…