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Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics What's this?

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5.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Holy Rollers is inspired by actual events in the late nineties when Hasidic Jews were recruited as mules to smuggle ecstasy from Europe into the United States. Sam Gold, a young Hasid from an Orthodox Brooklyn community reluctantly follows the path his family has chosen for him, awaiting aHoly Rollers is inspired by actual events in the late nineties when Hasidic Jews were recruited as mules to smuggle ecstasy from Europe into the United States. Sam Gold, a young Hasid from an Orthodox Brooklyn community reluctantly follows the path his family has chosen for him, awaiting a pending arranged marriage and studying to become a Rabbi. A charming neighbor, Yosef Zimmerman (Justin Bartha), senses Sam's resistance and propositions him to transport 'medicine' for Jackie, an Israeli dealer, and his girlfriend, Rachel. Sam quickly demonstrates his business skill to his bosses, who instantly take Sam under their wing. Now exposed to the exciting and gritty worlds of Manhattan and Amsterdam nightlife, Sam begins to spiral deeper into their detrimental lifestyle, experimenting with ecstasy and then falling for Rachel. As the business grows, Sam's double life begins to rip his family apart and the community becomes suspicious of his illegal activities. Sam slowly comes to realize the façade behind the easy money and parties. Caught between life as a smuggler and the path back to God, Sam goes on the run, forced to make a fatal decision that could bring the entire operation crashing down. (First Independent Pictures) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 70
    The problem is that just as we’re getting to know these characters as people, the movie pulls a veil over them: It loses its nerve and mutates into an only mildly compelling crime drama, albeit one whose protagonist is maybe more tortured than usual.
  2. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    70
    Never quite catches fire, calling for more edge and narrative tension than director Kevin Asch and screenwriter Antonio Macia manage to deliver. Still, it's an often evocative dip into unique territory fleshed out by a highly convincing cast.
  3. 60
    Holy Rollers is mostly a marker being put down by some talents to watch, especially Eisenberg, who is greater than fans of "Zombieland" could have imagined.
  4. Feels staged and exoticized in the way stories about insular communities often do when told by outsiders.
  5. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    50
    Asch's first feature is intelligent, respectable yet curiously muted in tone and impact, never fully catching the viewer up in either its crime saga or its account of individual rebellion within an insular religious community.
  6. 50
    Young Mr. Eisenberg and a fine cast give Holy Rollers the ballast it otherwise lacks, but we've been down this road so often that there are times when I could only wonder why I was watching it at all.
  7. The screenplay, by Antonio Macia, is earnest and unsurprising--not a good combination--and neither the director nor the star quite knows what to make of the quirky character inside the traditional garments that signal otherworldly innocence to customs agents.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 19, 2011
    6
    After I first saw a synopsis of this film I was immediately intrigued; "Based on the true story of a young Hasidic Jew who gets caught up inAfter I first saw a synopsis of this film I was immediately intrigued; "Based on the true story of a young Hasidic Jew who gets caught up in the international drug smuggling trade." You can't make this **** up. Its actually quite a genius idea to use a sector of the community whose moral fiber is known to have such a high standard to carry out low life deeds. Throughout the film you slowly see the transition of the main character, Sam (Jessie Eisenberg) from a future rabbi to a pivotal person in an illegal operation of drug trafficking. Thrown into a life where his fate is already decided makes you sympathize for the boy. It makes you question your own moral code and if you would be able to resist the ecstasy (pun intended) one would feel from such a heist and the extravagant lifestyle that it brings. It's quite easy to see how he did. Still I feel the films based on true stories tend to take the allure out of the ending, especially with such an
    abruptness to it. Because the real life story doesn't have any high profile notoriety, they should have including more of the details of the operation's discovery and eventual collapse. But the single person story complimented the ability for the viewer to understand the life and cognition of the main character. While a bit of an obvious choice as he tends to play roles of introverted characters, I thought Eisenberg was an overall good choice. He clearly demonstrates the type of actor the role is intended for. Much of the film depends on his ability to persuade the audience that they understand who he is and how he is driving the plot. While Ari Graynor did an excellent job the rest of the small cast was at best mediocre and pretty replaceable. But overall, I enjoyed the film and it did a good job of keeping my attention.
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