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Holy Rollers follows the rise of arguably the largest and most well-funded blackjack team in America-made up entirely of churchgoing Christians. While they succeed in taking millions from ... See full summary »
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 »
About 40 minutes into the movie, when the European drug lord shows his operation, he says "This thing's capable of producing 300 pills a minute, over 100,000 an hour." However, 300 pills a minute would account for 18,000 per hour. See more »
The closing credits mention the ring was responsible for importing over a million "Ecstacy" pills (should be "Ecstasy") See more »
"You are a liar and a criminal. You are not my son."
I'm not sure how close Holy Rollers comes to the actual events that it's based on, but it's an interesting flick. It really doesn't do much more than the many movies that chronicle the rise and fall of a drug dealer that came before, if I'm being honest. You have your innocent young man who's seduced and corrupted by the (seemingly) easy money of drugs (ecstacy, in this instance), that he's introduced to by a shady friend, and most of the consequences play out in exactly the way you would expect them to and have seen before. But the setting among the Hasidic Jew community of New York gives the movie a unique spin that (at least for me) made it something other than the cookie-cutter story it could have been.
Jesse Eisenberg was totally believable as the initially pure-hearted main character whose desire to make more money leads him away from his family and the life he values. It was a good role for him, but it didn't really require him to stretch beyond his characters in Adventureland or Zombieland. Which isn't to say that he's not good here, he just gives a very familiar performance. I hear he plays a very different character than his usual in The Social Network, though, so hopefully my fears of him being forever bound by one particular character type are unfounded.
Ari Graynor was the reason why I initially wanted to see the movie (big-time fan, the girl great), but I have to admit that her character was pretty one-dimensional and didn't really give her much to work with. The same goes for Justin Bartha's character and most of the others in the movie: they're not really written as whole people. They're given one or two qualities and everything they do stems exactly from their total greed, purity, etc. It would have been nice to see some more "complete" characters, but that's my only real complaint about the film.
I liked the documentary-like quality of the camera work; if almost made it seem like I was watching the movie unfold in real-time. And as I said before, the setting and context the story plays out in was Holy Rollers' biggest strength, in my opinion. How much you enjoy it will depend largely on how much interest you still have in these kinds of stories, as it admittedly doesn't rise out the familiar trappings and scenarios of similar movies. I still found it to be pretty entertaining, though.
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