In simpler times, a crew calling itself the Church Team might have been found weeknights at the local bowling alley, wearing monogrammed shirts and knocking down a few pins, although assuredly not knocking back a few. Tonight, the Church Team refers to a group of ministers and members of the flock who trek to casinos in Las Vegas to earn their livelihoods at the blackjack tables. Bryan Storkel’s nonjudgmental documentary, Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians, reveals how these righteous gamblers obtain an advantage through a disciplined strategy and extreme disguises. (The casinos strongly, ahem, discourage card-counters.) The filmmakers followed Church Team founders Ben Crawford and Colin Jones for three years, and that extraordinary access paid off with an inside view of moral self-justification: There’s nothing wrong with beating the sinners at their own game. As for any equivocation about participating in a Bible-unfriendly act, the Church Team generally subscribes to a time-honored philosophy: Praise the lord and pass the ammunition.
Dec. 30-31, 2011