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holyrollers1.jpgCompeting at Sundance in the drama category is Kevin Asch’s “Holy Rollers,” a film starring Jesse Eisenberg (“Adventureland,” “The Squid and the Whale”) as a young Hasidic man frustrated by the constraints of his belief and his father’s poor business decisions:

When Sam is presented with an opportunity to make some real money smuggling Ecstasy between Amsterdam and New York, he cautiously accepts it–and quickly finds himself seduced by the allure of the secular world. Caught between life as a smuggler and the path back to God, Sam and his worlds begin to unravel.

In the video on the Sundance site, the director notes that besides the theme of “faith vs. blind faith,” the film is also “about the journey of the characters, reaching for the world and losing their soul in the process.” The polar opposite environments – repressive and debaucherous – are played respectively by Hasidic Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the drug-addled scene in Amsterdam. Co-starring with Eisenberg are go-to supporting players Justin Bartha (“The Hangover”) and Ari Graynor (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”).
The film is still unreleased, but preliminary reviews point to an outstanding performance by Eisenberg and indicate that the film depicted the closed Hasidic community authentically. Beliefnet review to come!

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