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The Education of Charlie Banks

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Amazon.com: 57 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Is this really about Banks? Sept. 30 2011
By Burt Lee Liberty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I saw this movie pretty much because of "The Social Network". I thought it would be interesting to see Eisenberg in a pre-Social Network college film. I watched the audio commentary of Social Network and Fincher said he had seen Charlie Banks prior to making Social Network.

I don't know much about Durst but found it funny that he was the director of this. He definitely has ambition and you can tell he put a lot of work into this. The acting is pretty good. I was happy to see John Ritter's son turning in good work. The movie starts out about Charlie but becomes more about the Ritter character. Kind of uneven, and there's not enough story. What's there is fine, but it just seems undeveloped, kind of like its young characters.

So it's an affectionate thumbs down. With a better script, Durst might really surprise us one day.

P.S. (spoiler) There is the threat of violence in a scene that made me cringe. It was really well done. Scorsese would nod his head in approval.

2 out of 4
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Character Study Centered Around The Wrong Character July 21 2009
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product
While some may be skeptical of Fred Durst's directorial debut, he shows some promise. Competent, yet distant, most of my reservations about recommending "Charlie Banks" have to do with the film's plotting and characterizations. The primary story revolves around two roommates at an Ivy League college and what happens when an old "friend" with a checkered and violent past shows up for an indefinite stay. A good set-up that lacks a bit of pay-off.

A well made film, "The Education of Charlie Banks" is a movie I wanted to admire. However, something kept me at arm's length--I never really connected emotionally in a way that would have made my viewing experience more compelling. I think, perhaps, I never fully embraced Charlie Banks (Jesse Eisenberg) as the narrator or centerpiece of the film. His "education" or development just wasn't that intriguing and my lack of concern for him created somewhat of a void in the center of the film. Eisenberg was terrific in "The Squid and the Whale" and "Roger Dodger," his character just seems a little undercooked here.

Ironically, the strangest bit of casting was the most effective. Jason Ritter, as bad boy Mick, seems a little soft and gentle to be the reprobate he is supposed to be in this film. But Ritter commands the screen. The story really works better as "The Education of Mick." As Mick infiltrates the university and strives to fit in, the story is on solid ground. I was fascinated by this aspect and think Ritter brilliantly brought balance to Mick's conflicted emotions about this alien world he doesn't belong to. With a different focus--I think this might have made an extraordinary film! But, as is, most of the film left me ambivalent. Easy enough to watch, but not much to remember. About 3 1/2 stars from me--mostly for Ritter. KGHarris, 07/09
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
More Exposure After Facebook Feb. 24 2011
By James Hiller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The star of the Education of Charlie Banks is Jesse Eisenberg, now an Oscar nominated actor for another movie you might have heard about: The Social Network (Two-Disc Collector's Edition). This probably is a good thing, because Jesse's new found popularity are going to be bringing in fans to this lesser known film, and one that I quite enjoyed, "The Education of Charlie Banks".

Easy to classify under "Coming of Age" movie, this flick tells the tale of Charlie, who is haunted from an event in his past that comes back to haunt him college. Mick, played in a very nuanced way by Jason Ritter, is the source of this tension, and the two become allies, of a sort, despite the incident. Toss in Eva Amurri (one of my favorite reasons that I love Saved!, and you have an interesting, tense, and although sometimes unfocused, story.

The Education of Charlie Banks was an interesting story, told by first time director Fred Durst. I hope he continues to make movies, for there is much potential in his directing.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Ambitious July 22 2009
By Rick R. Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I liked THE EDUCATION OF CHARLIE BANKS enough to watch it from start to finish. The acting and ambitious story line (the director plays with serious themes) were both solid attempts. Yet the whole enterprise left me rather cold. I think one of the most bothersome things about the film was the choice to set it in the 1970s...not that there's anything wrong with that. But when a film (or a book or a play) is set in a specific time period, I think there should be a reason for it. Otherwise, it's distracting and you ending up watching it and wondering, "Okay, what is the artist trying to say about that period? How did the period play into the artistic thesis?" With this film, the question was unanswerable; it could have been set just as easily in current times. This kind of detail is something that should have been thought through before the cameras rolled and is indicative of a desire to impress without thinking first of what one is communicating.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Good acting, good characters, but missing something... June 24 2009
By Bryan Barrow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I was impressed by the performances of the core cast, especially Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Ritter, but the dialogue/storyline, while interesting, could've been better. I think the writer was trying be a little too subtle exploring the issues of class, appearance, honor and redemption/forgiveness.

While he's no Hitchcock, Fred Durst did a decent job as a first time director.

I'd recommend this one as a rental, but not one to purchase for repeat viewings.

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