The Education of Charlie Banks, which marks the directorial debut of Limp Bizkit's front-man Fred Durst, is a riveting tale about college students learning to deal with life, love, and ultimately facing their fears. This coming-of-age drama spans from the playgrounds of Greenwich Village to the idyllic greens of Vassar College.
The nervous charisma of indie leading man Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale
) carries The Education of Charlie Banks
, a story of doomed ambition, hopeless yearning, and lingering guilt. When teenaged Charlie Banks (Eisenberg) witnessed a handsome bully named Mick (Jason Ritter, Freddy Vs. Jason
) beat up two other boys, he tells the police--but then, feeling like a rat, withdraws his testimony so that Mick gets released. A few years later, when Mick suddenly appears at Charlie’s dorm for a visit, Charlie lives in dread that his betrayal will be revealed. But as Mick successfully woos the girl Charlie’s in love with, Charlie and Mick grown enmeshed in mutual envy and reluctant admiration. The Education of Charlie Banks
aspires to be a preppy version of The Great Gatsby
(just to make that clear, the characters twice make references to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel), peppered with philosophical allusions to Hannah Arendt and Jacques Derrida. Unfortunately, despite Charlie and Mick’s backstory, these kids just don’t have enough of a past to seem driven or haunted--they just flounder like any other bunch of boozing, horny college students. Mick comes across as a junior-varsity Tom Ripley, more stalker than star-crossed. Still, it’s a surprisingly smooth-flowing movie from Fred Durst, the former lead singer of rap-metal band Limp Bizkit. Also featuring Eva Amurri (Saved!
). --Bret Fetzer
Get to Know the Cast From The Education of Charlie Banks
Eva Amurri (Mary)
Jason Ritter (Mick)
Jesse Eisenberg (Charlie)
Stills from The Education of Charlie Banks (Click for larger image)