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Just a quick one today, here’s my verdict on Holy Rollers which AntBuoy and I saw at West India Quay Cineworld recently.

Based on a true story Holy Rollers chronicles the story of Sam Gold (Jesse Eisenberg), a young Hasidic Jew who forsakes his father’s tailoring business to pursue a career in the grimy but lucrative business of ecstasy smuggling. Eisenberg is as shufflingly nervous as we’ve come to expect from him and commands his scenes with quiet gravitas, effortlessly convincing in his role as a member of an Orthodox Jewish family. He and Justin Bartha as Sam’s cocksure neighbour Yusef, Sam’s antithesis, lead a strong cast through a muted story of a young man’s rise and fall in a seedy world. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, the ordinary boy turned drug dealer story has been done before although probably not against a Semitic background. Still seeing Sam’s confidence grow and his amusing encounters with criminal types and their overly affectionate girlfriends has enough to recommend itself.

Holy Rollers isn’t the kind of film I can recommend to everyone, to me the title sounds like it should be a comedy and while there are moments to raise a smile this is no laugh-a-minute gag fest. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a viewing which so many people left before the end having no doubt expected something more fun or at least cerebral. It’s an interesting but forgettable character study with a short running time that probably does the film a favour. If you’ve a nice, wide interest in films it’s worth a look but don’t expect miracles.

Verdict

A well-acted and thoughtful examination of two worlds not usually associated with each other that won’t stick long in the memory and will surely bore those impatient with slow-paced or quiet movies.

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