Holy Rollers

December 23rd, 2010


Holy Rollers

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Still of Jesse Eisenberg in Holy RollersHoly RollersHoly RollersHoly RollersHoly RollersStill of Kevin Asch in Holy Rollers

In Brooklyn, a youth from an Orthodox Jewish community is lured into becoming an Ecstasy dealer by his pal who has ties to an Israel drug cartel.

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 5.8/10 (2,259 voted)

Critic's Score: 51/100

Director: Kevin Asch

Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Danny A. Abeckaser

Inspired by a true story of a young Hasidic man who was lured into the world of international drug trafficking in the late 90s.

Jesse Eisenberg - Sam Gold
Justin Bartha - Yosef Zimmerman
Ari Graynor - Rachel Apfel
Danny A. Abeckaser - Jackie Solomon
Mark Ivanir - Mendel Gold
Elizabeth Marvel - Elka Gold
Jason Fuchs - Leon Zimmerman
Q-Tip - Ephraim
Hallie Kate Eisenberg - Ruth Gold (as Hallie Eisenberg)
Bern Cohen - Rebbe Horowitz
Stella Keitel - Zeldy Lazar
David Vadim - Mr. Maxim
Charlie Hewson - Andrew (The Goy)
Penny Bittone - Ivan
Ori Pfeffer - Beni

Taglines: In 1998, 1 million ecstasy pills were smuggled into the USA by a group of Hasidic Jews.


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 23 December 2010

Filming Locations: 84-06 106th Avenue, Ozone Park, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $39,685 (USA) (23 May 2010) (3 Screens)

Gross: $302,886 (USA) (22 August 2010)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The term "holy roller" doesn't have a French equivalent or logical translation, so the film was released in France with the English title "Jewish Connection."

Anachronisms: The bottle of perfume Rachel hands Sam to give to his mom is Calvin Klein Euphoria, which was not released until 2007.

User Review

Hasidic drug smugglers.

Rating: 6/10

"You are a liar and a criminal. You are not my son."

I'm not sure how close Holy Rollers comes to the actual events that it's based on, but it's an interesting flick. It really doesn't do much more than the many movies that chronicle the rise and fall of a drug dealer that came before, if I'm being honest. You have your innocent young man who's seduced and corrupted by the (seemingly) easy money of drugs (ecstacy, in this instance), that he's introduced to by a shady friend, and most of the consequences play out in exactly the way you would expect them to and have seen before. But the setting among the Hasidic Jew community of New York gives the movie a unique spin that (at least for me) made it something other than the cookie-cutter story it could have been.

Jesse Eisenberg was totally believable as the initially pure-hearted main character whose desire to make more money leads him away from his family and the life he values. It was a good role for him, but it didn't really require him to stretch beyond his characters in Adventureland or Zombieland. Which isn't to say that he's not good here, he just gives a very familiar performance. I hear he plays a very different character than his usual in The Social Network, though, so hopefully my fears of him being forever bound by one particular character type are unfounded.  

Ari Graynor was the reason why I initially wanted to see the movie (big-time fan, the girl great), but I have to admit that her character was pretty one-dimensional and didn't really give her much to work with. The same goes for Justin Bartha's character and most of the others in the movie: they're not really written as whole people. They're given one or two qualities and everything they do stems exactly from their total greed, purity, etc. It would have been nice to see some more "complete" characters, but that's my only real complaint about the film.

I liked the documentary-like quality of the camera work; if almost made it seem like I was watching the movie unfold in real-time. And as I said before, the setting and context the story plays out in was Holy Rollers' biggest strength, in my opinion. How much you enjoy it will depend largely on how much interest you still have in these kinds of stories, as it admittedly doesn't rise out the familiar trappings and scenarios of similar movies. I still found it to be pretty entertaining, though.


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