Holy Rollers is one of those rare conundrums, a film that aims to shoot high with ambition but unfortunately relied upon the critical acclaim of another film before it saw the light of day.
Following the critical reception for The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010) which told the story of the forming of Facebook and Mark Zuckerburg, along with the Oscar nominated performance of Jesse Eisenberg, these trailers for a Jewish film started to appear.
Holy Rollers tells the story of Sam Gold (Eisenberg), a fair to middling loyal Jewish man who is about to wed in an arranged marriage set up by his parents. To earn some extra cash, Sam becomes a drug smuggler led by community rival Yosef Zimmerman (Justin Bartha - The Hangover) which unfortunately has tie-ins to an Israeli drug cartel.
As with most easy money films, the pluses are exaggerated but unfortunately the net becomes tighter and tighter with mistakes starting to happen. Can Sam set himself straight and return to the Orthodoxy before too late.
Kevin Asch directs his feature debut and he handles it very well, boasting some credible performances and a real zest in its directional flair coupled with a killer soundtrack, along with some great location shots of New York, giving the film a real sense of place and feel for the Jewish environment. Asch also handles the material seriously, all the more credible considering it is a true story.
Holy Rollers is out now on DVD from Crabtree Films at all good stockists. The DVD features a director's commentary with Kevin Asch; trailers; deleted scenes and an exclusive UK interview with Jesse Eisenberg.
Watch the trailer here.