Tuesday, 12 July 2011

[481] Holy Rollers (2010)

After interviewing Jesse Eisenberg, here's the review of Holy Rollers - which sounds a little like it should be a comedy. Although, weirdly, this week I'm seeing 30 Minutes Or Less, another Eisenberg vehicle which, this time, is actually a crime-based comedy. Bizarre.

Holy Rollers never successfully shakes off one crucial pre-viewing assumption, inspired by the puntastic title, but sustained by the set-up. This is a low budget indie flick starring Jesse Eisenberg as an awkward New Yorker, who gets embroiled in a massive drug smuggling operation, maintained by Hasidic Jews. In other hands, this could be a fish out of water, coming of age comedy, maybe with some gross-out and stoner overtones. But actually, Kevin Asch's debut feature is the polar opposite. It's a tragic crime drama, with ambitions of being a modern religious fable.

Holy Rollers' roots are in reality, being based on the true story of the ecstasy smuggling ring, which fooled airport security in the late 90s by hiding pills in the traditional dress of Hasidic Jewish travellers. Sam Gold (Jesse Eisenberg) is an unlikely gangster. He keeps his head down, working at his father's fabric store while aspiring to be a rabbi and marry a nice local girl. However, a run-in with rebellious neighbour, Yosef (Justin Bartha), introduces Sam to the secular world of booze, E's and women, causing him to turn his back on his family, in favour of ill-gotten fortune.

Read the full article here.

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