Holy Rollers (Review)

HOLY ROLLERS
(5/21/10; Drama)
Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Ari Graynor, Danny Abeckaser, Q-Tip, Jason Fuchs, Hallie Kate Eisenberg
SCR: Antonio Macia
DIR: Kevin Asch
MPAA: R for drug content and language throughout, and brief sexual material.
1 hour 29 mins
BOX: $303,064

Sam Gold (Eisenberg) is a young Hasid from an Orthodox Brooklyn community working for his father and waiting for an arranged marriage to happen. To say that his life has been pre-ordained is an understatement, and that seems to fit the gawky young man fine.

But one day, excitement arrives in the form of an offer from his next door neighbor Yosef (Bartha), to transport ‘medicine’ (ecstasy) for a dealer named Jackie (Abeckaser). Before long, Sam is globe-hopping as a drug mule and seeing how the other side lives, which means attracting the affections of the dealer’s girlfriend Rachel (Graynor). This film is based on actual events, in which Hasidic Jews were recruited as mules to smuggle ecstasy from Europe into the United States.

Macia and Asch never go for the obvious outcome, either in the depiction of Sam’s traditional world or his exciting new one. Eisenberg is outstanding as a young man shedding his skin to become something altogether uncomfortable. And frankly, he’s better here than in his Oscar-nominated role in The Social Network, which was released just a few months later. Sam’s sister Ruth is played by Eisenberg’s real sister Hallie. (First Independent Pictures)

— DENNIS WILLIS

Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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