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Sunday, July 10, 2011

296. Holy Rollers

    It's seldom that I go to the flicks and reality comes well short of expectation
    I hadn't read any reviews of Holy Rollers but the true story of how a ring of drug dealers came out of a tight knit Orthodox Jewish community in New York intrigued me.
    The names of Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha hadded weight to my hopes as did the poster which I have reproduced above.
    "Potent, gritty and thoroughly absorbing,'' states one testimonial.
    The truth is that Kevin Asch's movie is none of those things.
    Dismally dull would have been a more accurate summary.
    This is a true story which centres in on the world of Sam Gold, whose Brooklyn family were so religious that they were pushing him to train to be a rabbi.
    Gold (Eisenberg) is wrapped up in a traditional world where a bride is being selected for him and he zealously goes to instruction with his father and best friend.
    He is, however, persuaded by his best friend's brother (Bartha) to join him in importing some 'medicines' from  abroad.
    Only the most naive or foolish would have not at least thought that the medicines might be a bit dodgy but because of Gold's purity I'll let that pass.
    What neither Mrs W nor I could really fathom was how someone who was, on the face of it, so wrapped in one particular lifestyle, could dramatically switch to another.
    There was no doubt, you see, that by the second trip Gold knew exactly what he was doing.
    Holy Rollers story doesn't really go much further than that.
    Ok, it visits the suspicions of Gold's family and the negative reactions of the community but the seismic changes to Gold's life are treated too circumspectly.
    I don't know whether this is because Eisenberg's performance is so flat or whether the script is so punchless.
    I guess it could be the combination of the two.
    Eisenberg worries me a bit. I fear that he bagged a role of a lifetime in A Social Network and may never be able to repeat that glory.
    He was born to play Mark Zuckerberg and did it with aplomb.
    But his quickfire speech didn't really work for Gold in the way that it didn't work for a cartoon bird in Rio.
    Anyway, neither of us could believe that a religious zealot could become a drug dealer quite so easily and give up everything dear to him without very deep soul-searching.
    Gold's character was the only one with any depth and because he was so pale the whole movie floundered.
    It wasn't terrible but it just didn't have any zip.
    Thus, it gets an everyfilmin2011 rating of 4.5/10

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296. Holy Rollers

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