In his latest film, Jesse Eisenberg is leaving “Adventureland” and “Zombieland” for the seedy world of drug cartels.
Inspired by true events, “Holy Rollers” centers on a group of Hasidic Jews who helped smuggle more than 1 million ecstasy pills from Europe to the U.S. in the late 1990s. Sam Gold (Eisenberg) lives in an Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, and his entire life has been mapped out for him. He works for his family business, studies to become a rabbi and waits to meet his new bride in an arranged marriage.
But a charismatic friend of Sam’s named Yosef Zimmerman (Justin Bartha) shows him a new way to live. Yosef has ties to an Israeli drug cartel, and suggests to Sam that he help him transport “medicine” for an Israeli dealer — ecstasy the dealer is smuggling from Europe to the U.S. As he becomes more deeply embroiled in the world of drug trafficking, Sam strays from the church, lives a lifestyle of debauchery and falls for the dealer’s girlfriend (Ari Graynor).
The film has received mixed reviews, but if nothing else it should be a good vehicle for Eisenberg to test his skills as an actor. In his last few roles, he’s taken the Michael Cera approach — awkward but charming as he finds himself through a free-spirited girl or a series of misadventures. Playing a Hasidic Jew/drug trafficker should give Eisenberg the opportunity to prove whether or not he has range.
“Holy Rollers” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and opened in limited release May 21.
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