By Steven Biscotti
The future is no longer a concept. 2015 is here and with it comes more extreme ways of viewing entertainment. We no longer have to venture out to a movie theater; nor drive to a video store. Video stores! How antiquated an idea! Nowadays, so many of us are accustomed to enjoying our films and television shows in an immediate way. Somewhat like that Keanu Reeves film, “Johnny Mneumonic”, we directly stream entertainment in ways that seemed as far off as face to face video conferencing and direct messaging. A site of particular interest would undoubtedly be SnagFilms.com and we believe this is a site to look out for.
Premiering on SnagFilms this past week was the 2010 Gotham Award Winner and Sundance Film Festival Grand Prize nominee “Holy Rollers.” It stars Jesse Eisenberg, soon to be Lex Luthor in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, along with Justin Bartha (“The Hangover”, “National Treasure”). The film, directed by Kevin Asch, centers around a young Rabbinical student named Sam Gold looking to make extra money. In searching for ways to provide for his family, and the young Jewish woman he hopes to marry, he takes a questionable job offer from his best friends brother. The job, which proves to not be legitimate, turns out to be a drug smuggling operation in which Hasidic Jews smuggle pure MDMA (ecstasy) out of Amsterdam through customs in New York. The drug smuggling proves to be a way of earning fast cash and an opportunity for Sam (Jesse Eisenberg) to make a name for himself, but it isn’t without consequences.
“Holy Rollers” is a relatively short film; a fast paced and reflective 1 hour and 29 minutes. The film, itself a pun on the term “holy rollers”, this time signifying a sense of Holy rolling (an inside term regarded for being high on ecstasy) is just as the title suggests. Yet it is directed with the reverence and respect towards an important religious culture that you normally wouldn’t expect from a film of this material. Credit must be given to director Kevin Asch and writer Antonio Macia for handling the story of Hasidic Jews in the late nineties being used as drug mules with dignity. Immediate from the opening shot, we are treated to a rather intimate portrait of an American Hasidic Jewish family making a living in Brooklyn, NY. It is through the realness of the family dynamic that makes the rest of the film so jarring in it’s downward spiral into degradation and the high price of criminality. Jesse Eisenberg, one of the finest and hardest working actors today, shines immensely as the earnest and mild-mannered working man and Rabbinical student. “Holy Rollers” is a prime example of an actor becoming a character and not merely an actor playing one. Eisenberg is flawless as Sam Gold and his performance is one to be spoken of for quite some time.
SnagFilms has its history dating back to 2008. The “social-video viewing platform” believes in a world where films and entertainment should be free and accessible for everyone. It’s a noble concern and goal, one that is backed by their statement “We believe that great movies and motivated fans can change the world.” With films like “Holy Rollers” being offered, it appears as if SnagFilms is a site worth your time. Especially if you love movies. And especially if you believe in the future!
Holy Rollers is now available on Snagfilms.com Holy Rollers gets four out of five stars.
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