Movie Review of Holy Rollers (2010)
Was this film only released to penguins in Antarctica? I hadn't heard of it 'til Showtime was nice enough to air it last night. Glad they did and hope you get to check out this off-beat drama about a young Hasidic kid named Sam (Jessie Eisenberg) recruited into the drug game by his neighbor Yosef (Justin Bartha). Talk about transitions--this kid goes from Rabbi-potentate to pill-smuggling, leisure-suit-wearing MDMA marketeer naturale. And that's before the real action flies.
The movie is very simple, the writing direct and homely, but the acting, and overall befitting minimalist feel gives it a menthol flush of melancholy. Eventually the nervousness overtakes the charm of the drug world, and the inevitable fall of any drug story occurs. While it's no masterpiece, it's worth seeing. Jessie Eisenberg does play a very convincing wayward orthodox Jew, and there is conflict and danger at every turn. Just not the kind where Steven Seagall takes down an army helicopter with a pistol. Add in a pretty face with Ari Graynor and you have a movie to bring up at any cafe conversation.
In summary: this movie is all about the atmosphere. The set design and costume design are beyond apt, and the cinematography, while not attempting Avatar, brings tremendous texture to the screen. Somehow such screwed up circumstances revel in the smallest details--the smooth kashmir of a jacket, the minuscule snowflakes of European winter, the ratty lights of Brooklyn raves and Amsterdam dancehalls. All of these elements craft a film greater than the sum of its parts. Now, go and find it somehow.