The hero is Sam Gold, a young Hasidic Jew growing up in Brooklyn and being trained as a rabbi. His father hopes to arrange a good match for him, one that will raise him above the poverty his family has known. As the boy grows older, he shows an aptitude for business which his family firmly discourages.
As Sam begins to show signs of resenting living up to his family’s expectations, he is approached by the older brother of his bast friend, who persuades both innocents to take an exciting trip overseas to bring back ‘medicine’ to those denied it in the US. The boys soon have their first encounter with the nightclub scene in Amsterdam.
Although his friend recoils from the truth that they have been used as mules for the drug dealers, and the ‘medicine’ is actually an illegal chemical, Sam has been intrigued by the glimpses he has gotten of a totally different world. One boy goes back to rabbinical studies, while the other goes on with the smuggling.
Sam is seduced by money and excitement to continue walking on the dark side, where his business instincts are recognized and appreciated. He is soon deep in a double life and gradually loses his faith, his family, and his community. He also begins to experiment with the drugs he is smuggling and falls in love with the beautiful but doomed girlfriend of the drug lord he works for.
As things begin to unravel for Sam in both his lives, he learns that there is a middle ground between religiosity and depravity where God may be found. He ends up on the run, struggling with a decision that will hurt many of the people he has tried to love.
Sam, struggling to find God on the middle ground between the temptations of the world and the straitjacket of his old life, is soon on the run, trying to decide which way to go in the future. No matter how he acts, he will hurt others in his life if he wants to save his own.
The title uses a term, once coined to be derisive, for pentecostal Christians who became ‘carried away’ or ecstatic during worship. The addicts in the movie are seeking a similar euphoria by means of an illegal street drug. The desire to change current reality of something better is true of both radically different processes.
Holy Rollers is an emotionally charged film starring Jesse Eisenberg as the boy who must become a man to escape the danger his innocence led him into and where his weaknesses entrap him.