Holy Rollers

From June ’08 Spotlight: Two ambitious Indie films open in Metro Chicago this month. The first is Holy Rollers written by Antonio Macia and directed by Kevin Asch. Based on actual events widely reported in 1999, Holy Rollers stars Jesse Eisenberg as “Sam Gold.”

When the film opens, Sam is living with his family in Brooklyn’s insular Hasidic community. His parents want him to be a Rabbi, but Sam is too restless. Neighbor “Yosef” (Justin Bartha) introduces him to an Israeli hustler named “Jackie” (Danny Abeckaser), and Sam lets Jackie convince him that his business (smuggling “medicines” from Amsterdam) is well-intentioned. Falling ever deeper into Jackie’s world increases the gulf between Sam, his conscience, and his community.

Although the criminal element provides narrative drive, Holy Rollers is about Sam’s spiritual journey— where is his place in the world and what are his options? Near the end, Sam, now estranged from his family, is approached on the street by a Chabadnik who wants him to wrap tefillin. Saying prayers for the first time in months, Sam’s desperate longing for acceptance is heartbreaking.

Holy Rollers opens June 4th at Landmark’s Century Centre in Lincoln Park and Renaissance Place in Highland Park.

Daddy Longlegs a begins weeklong run at the Gene Siskel Film Center on State Street on June 11…

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