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Michael Scott Foster
The long black pieces of leather with small boxes attached to them that Sam puts on his arms and head several times during the movie are called "tefillin" (or less commonly, "phylacteries," which is their secular, Greek-derived name). Very observant Jews (traditionally men, although some women in the Reform movement participate as well) over the age of thirteen put them on and say a blessing. The four Torah passages inside the little boxes all contain some variation of specific instructions to put those passages "on your hand" (which is why one box goes onto the arm) and "between your eyes" (which is why one box goes on the forehead). "Laying" or "wrapping" tefillin is considered to be a very important "Mitzvah" (commandment) in Judaism. See more »
The movie is supposed to be set in the late 90s, but the Freedom Tower (built on the 9/11 site and under construction) can be clearly seen in the skyline. See more »
The closing credits mention the ring was responsible for importing over a million "Ecstacy" pills (should be "Ecstasy") See more »
Good movie thanks to Eisenberg's brilliant performance, above all
This relatively short (1h 25min) movie is inspired by actual events in the 1990ies when Hasidic Jews were recruited as "mules" to smuggle ecstasy from Europe (mostly from The Netherlands) into the United States. The introductory part of the screenplay, however, is too long - I mean the events prior to smuggling process. On the other hand, the movie gives a good overview of customs and habits of Orthodox Jews - definitely interesting for non-Jews - and manners of recruiting people for illegal trafficking. The club scenes seem a bit lengthy though... Well done anyway, and the director Kevin Asch won the Breakthrough Director Award at the 2010 Gotham Awards.
Jesse Eisenberg gives his best performance so far - and so different from the one in Social Network, for which he has been praised higher. His interpretation of Sam/Schmuel Gold, a mild-manner 20-year old youngster gradually becoming a smuggling activist, is so convincing and at times funny - although there is always tough and troubled background visible. Justin Bartha, Ari Graynor and Danny Abeckaser are also worth mentioning, going with the atmosphere.
A recommendable movie - and a warning against involvement into illegal trafficking and drug use.
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