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Genre: Comedy
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Ritter, Christopher Marquette, Eva Amurri, Sebastian Stan, Gloria Votsis
Director: Fred Durst
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene and Coarse Language)
Year Made: 2008







Languages: English
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9
Sound: Dolby Digital
Running Time: 1 hr 41 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East
Official Website:




Charlie Bank's (Jesse Eisenberg) sheltered world at his Ivy League campus is shaken up when Mick (Jason Ritter), an old acquaintance with a violent past, unexpectedly shows up. Intrigued by Charlie's privileged lifestyle, the charismatic Mick quickly wins over Charlie's friends and his crush, Mary (Eva Amurri) as he seamlessly integrates himself into Charlie's life. Unnerved, yet also in awe of Mick's easy charm. Charlie's unresolved feelings of jealousy, admiration and fear - as well as an unspoken secret between the two - threatens to come to a head with ruinous consequences.


Whatever is the front man of nu metal band Limp Bizkit directing a sensitive, thought-provoking character study as “The Education of Charlie Banks”? We do not know, but judging from this directorial debut, Fred Durst is one director to watch out for.

The story of Charlie Banks begins with the sombre teen (played by Jesse Eisenberg) witnessing two high school students get brutally beaten by a local gangster Mick Leary (Jason Ritter). Strung by pangs of conscience, he goes to the police and reports the incident, resulting in Mick’s arrest. But Charlie later retracts his testimony and Mick goes free.

Fast forward three years later, Mick is in college, making new friends and exploring dalliances with the opposite sex. One day without warning, Mick turns up at his dorm room, saying he’s here to pay Charlie and his roommate a friendly visit. Why is Mick here? What does he want with Charlie? It’ll take till the end of the film before we eventually find out the answers. But in the meantime, writer Peter Elkoff uses Mick’s fish-out-of-the-water scenario to deliver a meaningful discourse on class distinction in society.

Mike, Charlie and his roommate Danny (Chris Marquette) were born and raised on the streets, unlike the privileged had-it-all rich kids that they associate with at college- Leo (Sebastian Stan), Mary (Eva Amurri) and Nia (Gloria Votsis). Mick’s disdain towards these “f**king rich kids” is not without grounds; these kids simply had it better for them from young. And it’s a sad fact that which class of society you are born in life is most likely the class you will belong to for the rest of your life.

Fred Durst’s film explores these frustrations in a slow-burn, simmering way as Mick’s frustrations grow increasingly threatening. Kudos to Jason Ritter, the intense and charming actor who plays Mick- he gives his character a devilish appeal that suits Mick’s volatile and unpredictable nature. But Ritter also imbues his character with enough sensitivity to evoke sympathy for his predicament, one in which he is quite helpless to escape from.
The larger question which “The Education of Charlie Banks” alludes to is this: are the circumstances of our life a product of nature or nurture? Are Mick’s violent, aggressive tendencies a product of the environment he grew up in? And if that environment changes, will it be enough to save Mick from his upbringing? Though not explicitly, the film settles for middle ground- it is a bittersweet but one that is perhaps most apt to the reality of that question.

This is one educational experience that you won’t find in the books- simply because no one likes to be told that no matter how we try, or no matter how we try to portray it, we are not all born and raised equally in life. Because of that upbringing, we are left better or worse off. Fred Durst’s “The Education of Charlie Banks” is meaningful in that way- it is a sobering wakeup call to that truth, a truth we are often tempted to ignore.


This Code 3 DVD contains no extra features.


The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track will surprise you with its unexpectedly rich experience, especially with its ambient noises and background score. The disc’s visual transfer doesn’t show any flaws- though the washed out colours is more a product of the film than the disc.



Review by Gabriel Chong

Posted on 13 September 2009


Other titles from Scorpio East:

. Surfer Dude

. Confession of A Shopaholic

. Slacker Uprising

. Race to Witch Mountain

. Jonas Brothers the Concert Experience

. Death Defying Acts

. The Meerkats

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. Rule #1

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. Money No Enough 2

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. Fatal Move

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. Ah Long Pte Ltd

. Talking Cock The Movie

. 2 Faces of My Girlfriend

. Lust Caution

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. Brothers

. Ratatouille

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This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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