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Within the last thirty years or so,independent cinema has certainly taken on a more respectable air in the annals of movie going. Film makers such as John Sayles,the Coen brothers,and other mavericks have made their mark among the sludge that constitutes main stream movies. Now we can add yet another name to that list:Kevin Asch,who previously directed one other film,'Characters' (unseen by me). Based on situations that transpired in 1998,'Holy Rollers',is a tale of two Hasidic Jews that unknowingly become drug mules for a collective of drug runners from Isreal. Sam Gold (played by Jesse Eisenberg,of 'The Squid & The Whale'fame)is a young man,working for his father's clothing business,until his family hopes (and prays)for Sam becoming a Rabbi someday. In trying to help out his family,financially,he is introduced by his next door neighbour,Yosef Zimmerman (played by Justin Bartha)to Jackie Soloman (Danny Abeckaser),a drug baron,who leads Sam down a one way path to impending doom,as a carrier of pills from Europe for rich "goys" (non Jews). Jackie is smooth (and slimy)enough to get Sam to do his bidding. Sam is smitten with Jackie's girl friend,Rachael Apfel (Ari Graynor),as well as a taste for the good life ('tho not until he is over his head). Others in the cast include Bern Cohen,Mark Ivanir,Halle Kate Eisenberg (Jesse's real life sister),and look out for a cameo/walk on by rapper,Q-Tip,as Ephrim,a fellow drug lord working in Holland. Kevin Asch directs from a screen play written by Antonio Macia. The films gritty cinematography is by Ben Kutchins,with editing by Suzanne Spangler. The film does (at times)resemble 'Maria,Full Of Grace',from a few years back (but don't let that steer you away from a well written,directed & acted film,such as this). Rated 'R' by the MPAA,this film contains strong language,drug references,and some brief sexual content. A film that could act as a warning to young Jews about the dangers of the drug trade,as well as a cautionary tale that could have been told by a Rabbi about swaying from the path.
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