The Education of Charlie Banks

"Good"

The Education of Charlie Banks Review


First of all, no, that's not a typo: Limp Bizkit stuff-breaker Fred Durst has turned in his backwards red baseball cap and microphone for some nice suits and a DGA card.

Strangely, however, Durst's career has been hit with a severe case of chronological fatigue. Last year, Durst directed Ice Cube in the lethargic teen-football weepie The Longshots, which would make him a filmmaker only in so much as he knew how to turn on a camera. That was his second film, however. His first film, The Education of Charlie Banks, premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival to mostly favorable reviews but didn't receive U.S. distribution. That is, until earlier this year, when Anchor Bay picked up the tab.

Spanning a decade or so in the life of the titular nebbish (Jesse Eisenberg), the film begins in the early '70s when Banks first lays eyes on Mick (Jason Ritter), a tough kid who's become something of a neighborhood legend. For a brief interim in high school, the two meet again for a moment before Mick beats two "fucking rich kids" within an inch of their lives. Banks rats on him only to later recant under fear of Mick's retribution.

Years pass and Banks goes north for college with best friend (and Mick's good friend) Danny (Chris Marquette), only to find Mick sitting on his bed one day when he returns from class. One would expect a psychological tête-à-tête to unfold, but it doesn't. Mick has all but forgotten the rat who snitched on him, and these privileged so-and-sos take him under their wing like a wounded animal. Soulless gadabout Leo (Sebastian Stan) wants to style Mick like himself, while Banks' knock-out crush Mary (a very good Eva Amurri) wants him for a few months of slumming before she eventually ends up with Charlie.

Class consciousness and warfare are alive for the majority of Durst's film, and Mick's assimilation, if not his gradual friendship with Charlie, keeps the film engaging and focused. At times, Banks feels structured like a horror film, with Mick as the monster unable to fully acclimate to his surroundings and finally acting out. You can even see something of a King Kong in Mick's hooded gaze. More than De Niro or Brando, Ritter is reminiscent of a young Matt Dillon who similarly played monsters of a sort, though far more lovable ones, in The Outsiders and Rumble Fish. It's a perceptive and gripping performance.

But Durst and screenwriter Peter Elkoff slip into heavy contrivances in the film's final quarter (again, shades of Rumble Fish) involving a murder back in New York City. Stuck somewhere between Bret Easton Ellis and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Durst's film has sure-footed tone and mood, but it falls short of provocation. A third feature will be a deciding factor in where Durst's allegiances lie as a filmmaker, but at the very least, Education proves that there's more going on in Durst's head than chocolate starfishes and hot-dog-flavored water.

Someone's gonna get schooled.



The Education of Charlie Banks

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 27th April 2007

Distributed by: Anchor Bay

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 47%
Fresh: 14 Rotten: 16

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Marisa Polvino

Starring: as Charlie, as Rick, as Mary, as Mick, as Leo, Gloria Votsis as Nia, as Arresting Officer, as Detective Lazaroff, Emily Boisseau as Girl In Danny's Class, as Mr. Banks, Olivia Keister as Michelle, Amanda George as Glee Club Member

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.