Loss Of Innocence – Holy Rollers

Loss Of Innocence – Holy Rollers

Crabtree Films

Release date: May 20th, 2011
Certificate (UK): 15 (tbc)
Runtime: 89 Minutes

Director: Kevin Asch
Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Ari Graynor,
Danny Abeckaser, Q-Tip


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Jesse Eisenberg’s BAFTA and Oscar nominations could bring a movie back into the spotlight that premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and is now scheduled for a UK cinema release on May 20th. Although Holy Rollers has received mixed reviews, there are some people who say the film has been underrated.

After all, director Kevin Asch won the Most Promising Newcomer award at the 2010 Deauville Film Festival and the Breakthrough Director prize at the 2010 Holy RollersGotham Independent Film Awards, both for his debut Holy Rollers. The movie is inspired by true events involving Ecstasy-smuggling Hasidic Jews from New York City in the late 1990′s (an interesting background story of the time here).

Sam Gold (Eisenberg) is one of those young men, belonging to an Orthodox Brooklyn community and about to follow the path his family has chosen for him. Becoming innocently entangled in the world of drug-smuggling, he soon leads a double life struggling between his religious background and the seductive pull of the secular world.

Holy Rollers seems like a story that inevitably meets with criticism, not least because too many of them blend a character-driven morale with more or less stereotype crime Holy Rollersaction, and last not least friendship and romance. In this case though, the religious premise makes for a very different setting that could trigger some political waves, too (here in Europe anyway).

I think much will depend on the film taking a perspective that is stronger than genre expectations, and on Jesse Eisenberg’s performance. The factual raw material is rather compelling and relevant, considering what events like these mean to any community. I’m sure there’s more than one story to be told, even if some people concerned won’t necessarily like it.

Holy Rollers

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