Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots, Steve Terada, Phillip Andre Botello
Dark comedy written and directed by Riley Stearns. The story follows timid bookkeeper Casey (Jesse Eisenberg), who after he’s attacked at random on the street joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself. Under the watchful eye of a charismatic instructor, Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Imogen Poots), Casey gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time in his life. But when he attends Sensei’s mysterious night classes, he discovers a sinister world of fraternity, brutality and hyper-masculinity, presenting a journey that places him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor.
Casey: I want to sign up for classes.
Sensei: That’s excellent news. I’m going to go ahead and enter you into the system.
[he goes through the form on his computer]
Sensei: Name, Casey…
Sensei: A very feminine sounding name. Why karate?
Casey: I’m afraid. I’m afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of other men. They intimidate me. I want to be what intimidates me. I want to be…
Sensei: This question is multiple choice. “A, health and fitness. B, career opportunities. C, New Year’s resolution. D, self-defense, slash, traumatic experience.”
Casey: What if it’s none of the above?
Sensei: Should I read the choices again?
Casey: No, that’s okay. A, health and fitness.
[giving Casey his karate uniform]
Sensei: This is your belt. It is yours, and it’s sacred. There’ll be a fifteen dollar charge to replace a lost belt.
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