12 January 2010 | Mr_Censored
A Sleeper That Deserves To Be Seen.
As the directorial debut from Limp Bizkit's outspoken and often loathed frontman, Fred Durst, it's safe to say that the bar was set very low for "The Education of Charlie Banks" -- too low, as a matter of fact, as Durst's film (drawn from a screenplay by Peter Elkoff) is a surprisingly rich experience that unfortunately sat on the shelf for too long after being made and which got virtually ignored by critics and mainstream audiences alike.
Opening in the mid-70's and then picking up sometime in the 80's, "The Education of Charlie Banks" tells the story of a bully (Jason Ritter) who appears as some sort of boogeyman to the title character (Jesse Eisenburg). Though the two make acquaintances as teenagers, it isn't until his college years that Charlie finds himself being truly haunted by the ultra-violent hot-head when he shows up unexpectedly in the dorm-room he shares with his childhood friend (Chris Marquette). Slowly, he works his way into Charlie's life, tagging along in spite of the fact that he never quite fits in. Has this friend from the past changed his ways, or is he just a hot-head ready to blow at any minute?
Without a doubt, the film was influenced by the films of Martin Scorsese (see the "Raging Bull" poster in Charlie's room) and although it's not quite in the same league, it's a noble effort nevertheless. The film reaches for lofty heights, and thanks to its credible cast, reaches them. You'll feel immersed in the characters and situations in "The Education of Charlie Banks" and while it's ending doesn't exactly resolve anything, ultimately resembles reality a bit closer than the average coming-of-age story. It's a well-written and well-paced story directed almost effortlessly by Durst that should intrigue the interested and silence the critical.