Posted: 07/01/2009

 

The Education of Charlie Banks

by Elaine Hegwood Bowen




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The Education of Charlie Banks is a coming of age story, with the usual ups and downs, and it is the directorial debut of Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst.

The story details the lives of three young boys who grow up and attend college, learning many life lessons along the way. One of the young boys, Mick (Jason Ritter) is a bully of sorts, who beats a young man mercilessly while in high school, only to be turned into the authorities by Charlie Banks, played by Jesse Eisenberg. But Mick isn’t detained long, and Charlie, Mick and Andy go about their lives, with Charlie and Andy attending college.

About three years after the savage beating that Mick gave the other young man, he just shows up on campus. Charlie at first doesn’t know that Mick is yet again running from the law, after allegedly beating a man to death at a party. Charlie has always seemed to have this curious, guarded fascination about Mick. On the other hand, Mick is intrigued by Charlie’s well-bred lifestyle and falsely admits that he wants to attend college also. His interest doesn’t last too long, and Mick seems more interested in partying and chasing women than cracking the books.

And while Charlie’s sheltered, calm college lifestyle is shaken up a bit when Mick intrudes upon Charlie and his buddies, Charlie learns a thing or two about finally defending himself. Charlie is nervous about whether Mick knows that he turned him in years ago, and secretly Mick is concerned about whether anyone knows that he’s running from the law in this recent beating.

The Education of Charlie Banks is set in the ‘80’s against the backdrop of Greenwich Village’s rough and tumble playgrounds and an elite academic institution in Upstate New York. The movie is chock full of lessons for all—the buddies learn about love, live and how to overcome their fears surrounding Mick—but not before Mick beats up a couple of more of Charlie’ contemporaries, including a female friend named Mary. The ending may upset some, as Mick has finally lost all rationale, but it seems Charlie has gained a bit of bravado.

The Education of Charlie Banks premiered to great acclaim at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, winning the prestigious Made In New York Award. The Hollywood Reporter’s Martin Grove hailed the film an “Impressive directorial debut.” Added Moving Picture Magazine’s Elliot Kotek, “Durst Has Delivered a Film of Pedigree.” “Stunning and Relevant” said Back Stage’s Simi Horowitz.

The Education of Charlie Banks is available now on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment. Visit www.charliebanksmovie.com.

Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.



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