Holy Rollers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Holy Rollers Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 23, 2017
Feeling left in the slow lane of life, New York Orthodox Jews try drug running for awhile, trading on their outsider status. Families disapprove, but they do improve the drug-running game, because they're good with money ... ! Oy.
September 5, 2017
Enjoyable, but predictable.
April 14, 2015
The movie is based on a true story in the late 1990s when Hasidic Jews were recruited to smuggle ecstasy from Europe to the US. I felt the movie could have been better.
April 5, 2015
Soft spot for true stories of this nature. Jesse Eisenberg does awkward again.
½ August 23, 2013
Jewish guy imports some ecstasy pills...thats it really. Grab it at a charity shop near you soon. If in the charity shop its 99p, haggle them down to 49p.
July 7, 2013
Another cinematic disappointment.
Super Reviewer
May 18, 2013
In what essentially amounts to a film version of a good Locked Up Abroad episode, Holly Rollers tells the story of young Hasidic Jews who were recruited to smuggle ecstasy from Europe to the United States. Specifically, the film looks at the inculcation of Jesse Eisenberg's character to this new lifestyle.

The story that Holy Rollers seeks to tell is a familiar one, but one that should translate well to film. The film does a good job at the start, establishing the rigid belief system and antiquated social structure of Eisenberg's background. His introduction to the world is believable, but the film soon seems to lose its sense of build up and pace. Whereas it set up the Jewish community so well, Essenberg's rise in the drug world seems rushed, with the character arcs of those surrounding him never being fully fleshed out. It's as if the film stopped trying to distinguish itself about 1/3 of the way through, and instead opted for auto pilot.

The performances in the film are all good, with Eisenberg having an especially interesting depiction of his character, conservative, awkward, shy, but yet curious and strangely competent. The problem, however, is that many of the supporting roles never fully developed, being especially pronounced with Justin Bartha's character. The relationship between Eisenberg and Ari Gaynor is also not handled especially well.
Despite the weaknesses, Holy Rollers remains entertaining. It has most of the hallmarks of an effective drama, though it never stops to catch itself and reignite its originality.

3/5 Stars
February 25, 2013
Not very original or interesting.
½ December 1, 2012
It is a decently made film that pits Jesse Eisenberg's character between two worlds: the Hasidic Jews and the mafia. Jesse Eisenberg is superb, in probably his second best role (behind, of course, The Social Network). The storytelling isn't anything of a revelation but its thematic structure is perfectly constructed. The visual metaphors representing Sam Gold's isolation from both cultures he is apart of. Also, his gradual downfall and assimilation in to the ecstasy smuggler trade as indicated by he slowly sheds all signs of his old life. This film is also pretty funny in a few parts. Justin Bartha, who portrays Yosef, turns in a surprisingly dark dramatic role, when all I know him is from The Hangover, National Treasure, and some shitty movie that had Matthew McConnaIamnotevengoingtotryspellinghisname in it.
November 18, 2012
One of the most underrated films of 2010.
September 23, 2012
Jessie Eisenberg is always watchable.
Super Reviewer
September 1, 2012
I can understand why this film was poorly received, in some criticisms of it, but over all it's a solid drama. I think when you here drug smuggling you think of a violent action. Don't expect this, it was very timidly paced and didn't show the really bad side. It wasn't in your face, and didn't even hint at violence in the drug smuggling business. This took out a realistic feel for this film, but the movie intentionally stayed away from it. The point was a low key spiritual message, when you think drugs low key and spiritual usually don't come up. I think the problem was how the crew produced it and not the film itself. The beloved Roger Ebert stated that "(the Hasidic Jews) never seem to be anything but Hasidic Jews". I strongly disagree with this statement this film also showed there sexual desires and family life. It wasn't all set in a Shul like Mr.Ebert portrayed. The film has a clear message, and without ever saying it you know what it is. Eisenberg acted his heart out and developed the character well from start to finish. It was slow, but at the same time there was a lot to enjoy.
½ August 6, 2012
Pretty slow moving and not that interesting of a story. Skip this one.
½ July 30, 2012
Too slow and too uneventful to offer anything truly appealing. Overly cliched, with humdrum performances by most of the actors (maybe except the always-socially-awkawrd-but-still-funny Jesse Eisenberg). A story - inspired by true events - about a group of Jews smuggling drugs to America sounds promising on paper, but with major flaws in the direction department it lacks the verve. Worth one watch, but don't expect to remember the whole intrigue a year later.
July 19, 2012
Film sur le communautarisme : ou tu marche ou tu creve.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2012
An interesting idea executed in an un-interesting way, 'Holy Rollers' had my attention, but due to a lack of interesting characters and some serious pacing issues failed to hit the mark.
½ July 2, 2012
A fascinating true story competently told
Super Reviewer
½ July 1, 2012
For a movie based on a true story about Hasidic Jews working as drug mules trafficking ecstasy in the late 90s this movie was really dull.

Sure, maybe the limitations are the result of this being a low budget indie, but I think it would have been worse as a big budget major studio affair. The real issue is that the idea is inspired, but the script, direction, and acting are all lacking.

I liked the idea of a young guy torn between religious studies and making tons of money in the drug trade, but they really dropped the ball with the concept here. It all felt rehashed, unoriginal, and jut kinda blah. It doesn't help that the lead is done by Jesse Eisenberg. I like him, but he just doesn't really appear to be trying here. Justin Bartha however is awesome. He gives the best performance, is the most interesting character, and the focus clearly should have been on him.

I wasn't totally bored, but I didn't really care a whole lot either. Also, the washed out look really didn't fit for me and seemed unnecessary. You could see it, but I would ONLY recommend it for hardcore completists.
June 16, 2012
Jesse Eiseberg is becoming a fine actor - this is a good film and nice to see Bartha playing against type
May 19, 2012
This is essentially the definition of formulaic. Every scene is pretty much predictable. Eisenberg's performance saves it from the depths of mediocrity and raise it to slightly entertaining.
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