LONG SYNOPSIS

Holy Rollers is a provocative drama starring Jesse Eisenberg as SAM GOLD, a young Hasid from Brooklyn who innocently becomes involved in the world of international drug trafficking. The film is inspired by true events in the late nineties when Hasidic Jews were recruited as mules to smuggle ecstasy from Europe into the United States. The story chronicles Sam‟s struggle to choose between his intense religious background and the seductive pull of the secular world. During Hanukkah of 1998, Sam is an insulated Hasid on the cusp of his customary first-date with ZELDY LAZAR (Stella Keitel). She is the eldest daughter of a wealthy family he is hoping to marry with the blessing from the local spiritual leader, REBBE HOROWITZ (Bern Cohen). This marriage would improve Sam‟s modest family status in the community and his future as a Rabbi, which is the dream of his father, MENDEL (Mark Ivanir), who constantly pushes him to study harder. Mendel also has Sam working with him at his fabric store in Manhattan‟s Lower East Side. While Sam clearly has a strong head for business, his father doesn‟t allow him to excel at using his skills with customers, preferring to keep things simple at the store. Sam is anxious about his family‟s poor economic status, but Mendel tells him they already have everything they need, even with a broken stove at home. Sam finds solace in his best friend LEON ZIMMERMAN (Jason Fuchs) and Leon‟s wily older brother, YOSEF ZIMMERMAN (Justin Bartha), who live next door to him in Brooklyn. Sam and Leon grow together, but while Leon excels in his religious studies, Sam feels inept. Yosef senses Sam‟s resistance to the path his family has chosen for him and approaches his younger neighbor with a business proposition to transport „medicine‟ from Europe. Sam soon learns that the Lazar family disapproves of his proposed engagement to Zeldny. Heartbroken and confused, Sam innocently takes Leon with him to meet Yosef about his job offer. They quickly find themselves in Amsterdam‟s Red Light District awaiting a special package, but it is not until their return to New York that the boys learn of the illegal contents of the package they are getting paid to deliver. Confused, but drawn in by the promise of more cash, Sam disregards Leon‟s advice and seeks out Yosef in order to make more money. Yosef introduces him to JACKIE SOLOMON (Danny A. Abeckaser), a charming Israeli businessman, and RACHEL (Ari Graynor), Jackie‟s girlfriend and accomplice. Jackie immediately takes Sam under his wing, and introduces him to the benefits of their underground lifestyle. Soon, Sam‟s shrewd business tactics become indispensable to Jackie and the ecstasy smuggling crew. Sam swiftly gains the trust of Jackie and his other associates, including EPHRAIM (Q-Tip), an Ethiopian ecstasy supplier. Choosing to live this double life, Sam begins to recruit other unsuspecting Hasidim to work for Jackie. Now completely engrossed in Jackie‟s lifestyle, Sam fails to realize that behind the easy money and parties is a brewing feud between Jackie and Yosef. The belligerent and greedy Yosef begins to feel more and more threatened by Sam‟s increasing prominence within the group. The Hasidic community at large starts to suspect that Sam is a criminal. This embarrasses Sam‟s family and causes a major rift between Sam and his father. Even the powerful Rebbe warns Sam to choose whether he is a man that walks with God or away from Him. In an attempt to win over his family, Sam lavishes his Mother (Elizabeth Marvel) with a new stove. The family ostracizes him anyway, and he soon discovers from his younger sister, RUTH (Hallie Eisenberg), that his former best friend Leon is following through with becoming a Rabbi and is actually going to marry Zeldny Lazar. Sam is crushed and decides to leave both his home and religious community. He becomes Jackie‟s most trusted employee, recruiting dozens of Hassid to become ecstasy mules, and even beginning to experiment with ecstasy himself. As he falls deeper and deeper into their world, he starts to forge a closer relationship with Jackie’s girlfriend, Rachel, who is drawn to his innocence. Infatuated with her exotic take on life, this relationship pushes him even further past his realm of comfort. As business grows, so do the stakes. Money corrupts, and Jackie and his crew are no exception. Yosef grows increasingly more paranoid and unreliable with his excessive drug and alcohol use. Sam catches him doing business behind Jackie‟s back, but Yosef forces Sam to keep it a secret. Slowly, Sam comes to the realization that his new family is destroying itself, and that he is now a long way from home. Sam makes a play for Rachel and offers her a chance to escape with him. To his surprise, she tragically declines. Compounded by Yosef and Jackie‟s suspicions, Sam senses the impending downfall. Caught between life as a smuggler and the path back to God, he goes on the run, and is forced to make a fatal decision that could bring Jackie’s entire drug smuggling operation crashing down.

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