The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds |


Our network sites | Advanced

Originally published Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Movie review

'Holy Rollers' just rolls

Although a true story, "Holy Rollers" doesn't deliver more than is expected and may seem like something you've seen before.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 2 stars

'Holy Rollers,' with Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Ari Graynor, Danny A. Abeckaser, Q-Tip. Directed by Kevin Asch, from a screenplay by Antonio Macia. 89 minutes. Rated R for drug content and language throughout, and brief sexual material. Varsity.

"Holy Rollers," seen here last month at the Seattle International Film Festival, is one of those movies that sounds much better than it is. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, that fine, perpetually rumpled-looking young actor who always finds something interesting in a character — nobody plays defiant vulnerability quite like him — and its story, based on true events, is potentially fascinating.

And yet, something went wrong along the way; it's not a terrible movie, but all the way through you feel as if you've already seen it.

Eisenberg plays Sam, a 20-year-old Hasidic Jew in 1998 Brooklyn who's thinking, with some trepidation, about his future — marriage, becoming a rabbi, entering a life much like that which he's always known. And then he's asked, by a neighbor, to help out with a little job in which he'd transport "medicine" across U.S. borders. ("Relax, mind your business, and act Jewish," he's instructed.) Sam, at first innocently thinking that he's helping out a doctor, enters the drug-smuggling world and thrives in it — who would suspect him?

It's an intriguing premise — you leave wanting to know more about the true story behind it — but director Kevin Asch and screenwriter Antonio Macia don't deliver much more than a predictable, rote tale of innocence corrupted. We know this can't possibly end well for Sam and his friend Yosef (Justin Bartha, who brings a welcome touch of humor to the film), and indeed it doesn't.

Though Eisenberg makes Sam a sweetly desperate anti-hero, he's stuck in a film that feels long at 89 minutes, and that raises more questions than it answers.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

More Movies

Movie review: 'The Adjustment Bureau': Hats off to a fine fantasy

Movie review: 'Beastly': Fairy-tale misfits who look like models

Movie review: 'Rango': Johnny Depp nails his role as the lizard hero in this wild Western

Movie review: 'Take Me Home Tonight': a big '80s party you may not want to crash

Actor Mickey Rooney tells Congress about abuse

More Movies headlines...

No comments have been posted to this article.


Get home delivery today!



AP Video

Entertainment | Top Video | World | Offbeat Video | Sci-Tech