THE EDUCATION OF CHARLIE BANKS


FILM DIRECTED BY FRED DURST = WHOLE PERCEPTION OF LIFE CHANGED

A day or two ago a friend jokingly told me that a few years ago Fred Durst had directed a film. And when I say Fred Durst, I'm obviously talking about this guy:


However, it seems he is a changed bro. This is my story.

I looked the movie up on wiki, which alerted me that Durst's film had managed to achieve an award for its narrative structure. Flabbergasted, I thought, I got to watch this - even just to have a mad crease about it. What I saw though changed my whole perception on what's right and wrong. Maybe Nu Metal/ Rap Metal wasn't that lame after all. Maybe we just weren't ready for its forward thinking nature. Maybe Fred Durst is just above us all.

The film in question is a period piece set in the late 70s/early 80s entitled "The Education of Charlie Banks" and stars everyone's favourite awkward Jewish teenager. Wait, not Michael Cera, I'm talking about Jesse Eisenberg. You know, the guy that stars in all them films that end in 'land' where he plays a retarded lovesick dweeb but seemingly, in the dénouement, manages to tap the hottest babe in the film.

The plot revolves around the eponymous Charlie Banks - a nerdy New Yorker who along with his best bro Danny, are intrigued by the local Manhattan hard kid, named Mick. At a party, he witnesses Mick savagely beat the shit out of two jocks in one go which blatantly gives him a little quarter chub. Following this, he calls the police and delivers a statement but later withdraws it. From henceforth he keeps his head down, does his studies and manages to make it to a sweet college regretting the whole affair. After what seems like the perfect getaway, one day Charlie finds Mick in his dorm that is paying a visit to Danny. The problem lies in whether Mick knows that it was Charlie who called the police at the party that night and also if Mick still has the famous violent temper that made him so infamous back in NYC.

I tried my utmost best to dislike the film, I really did, but as it unfurled it became more and more intriguing. The character of Mick reminded me of all the intimidating people that had some unspoken power over me at times in my life. They managed to capture it so well as Eisenberg's character submitted to his every demand. The college students that Charlie Banks befriends reminded me of all the rich people who go to my university with no concept of money. Maybe this was a film about me (except I cant really pull off the whole 'neurotic Jew' shtick very well).

The direction of Durst seemed pretty solid, especially considering it was his first (and possibly only) feature and the acting was impressive from all those in main roles. Deep down too, it isn't just a drama about growing up and moving on whilst being nostalgic about the past. Its examines the class divide in America with also focus on the young middle class and their aversion to being considered 'well off'. As Charlie's friend Danny remarks in a thick New York accent, "Hey, I'm not rich! My parents are."

As a result, this has led me to question what the fuck is going on. Fred Durst makes a film that is decent. What next? KoRn win the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for a novel that tackles the problems within the Middle East with tact and grace? Or maybe Chad Kroeger will win the Turner prize for a conceptual art structure that is subtly about the struggle of the homosexual in Uganda. Who knows? I don't but maybe I won't shudder any more when I hear someone playing hits from 'chocolate starfish and the hot dog flavoured water'.

By JOE TINKLER