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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We have a duty to break the law!"
"Kill Your Darlings" (2013 release; 104 min.) is not to be confused with the completely unrelated (Swedish) film of the same name from 2006. The 2013 film brings the story of how the Beat generation got its not-so-humble start, when in the mid-1940s Allen Ginsberg (played by Daniel Radcliffe), then a freshman at Columbia University, gets to know and befriend Jack Kerouac...
Published 10 months ago by Paul Allaer

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The truth and fiction of the angel-headed hipsters
The title comes from William Faulkner, who reckoned the key to good writing is for the author to dispense with what he or she feels precious. It has a more literal meaning in the context of John Krokidas' debut feature, which tells the story of Lucien Carr, baddest boy of the Beat Generation, who slew David Kammerer in an alleged "honour killing" - a phrase which carried...
Published 3 months ago by R. J. Lister


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We have a duty to break the law!", 20 Nov 2013
By 
Paul Allaer (Cincinnati) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kill Your Darlings [DVD] (DVD)
"Kill Your Darlings" (2013 release; 104 min.) is not to be confused with the completely unrelated (Swedish) film of the same name from 2006. The 2013 film brings the story of how the Beat generation got its not-so-humble start, when in the mid-1940s Allen Ginsberg (played by Daniel Radcliffe), then a freshman at Columbia University, gets to know and befriend Jack Kerouac (played by Jack Huston) as well as William S. Burroughs (played by Ben Foster). The movie actually felt like two-movies-in-one. The first part of the movie shows us how these three, along with a few more characters, start dreaming up what would eventually be known as the Beat generation. The basic formula of that seemed to have been: cause as much havoc as possible (at one point one of them concludes: "we have a duty to break the law!", as if that makes it okay), go to lots of night clubs in Harlem to check out the latest jazz combo, and smoke lots and lots of cigarettes (and take in a few not-quite-so-legal things as well). The second part of the movie centers around the troubled relationship between Lucien Carr (played by Dane DeHaan) and David Kammerer (played by Michael C. Hall) on the one hand, and Ginsberg's own relationship with Carr on the other hand. To tell you much more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: as between the 2-in-1 films, I was not particularly drawn in with the first part of the movie, as it all felt very forced (I kept thinking: look! there they are! trying to act drunk when they really aren't). But it is the second part of the film that really pulled me in and caught my attention (and then kept it through the end). The events portrayed in the film are based on true events, so perhaps you know what is going to happen. If you don't, no worries, I'm not going to spoil anything. Just be ready to be surprised, more than once even. The acting performances are quite good, in particular Dane DeHaan, but check out also a couple of small roles from Elizabeth Olsen as Kerouac's girlfriend Edie, hard to believe that she is still only 24, I can't wait to see more of her; and also Jennifer Jason Leigh as Allen Ginsberg's unstable mom. When watching this, you can't help but think back to that other Beat generation movie from earlier this year, "On The Road" (based on the Kerouac book). In the end, they are very different movies, and both worth checking out. Make sure you don't walk out of the theatre or turn off the DVD as soon as the end credits start rolling. Not only do we get to hear the Libertines' "Don't Look back Into the Sun" as the credits roll, but even better is that we get to see actual photos from the early days of the Beat generation.

This movie debuted to nice critical acclaim earlier this year at the Sundance film festival, and I have been looking forward to seeing it. It finally opened at the local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati (Ohio) this past weekend, and I finally had a chance to see it today. The screening was not particularly well attended, and even with the great critical buzz, I just don't see this sticking around in the theatres very long. Regardless, if you have a chance to check it out, be it in the theatres or on DVD/Blu-ray, go for it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Potter is all grown up, 12 Jan 2014
This review is from: Kill Your Darlings [DVD] (DVD)
I saw this film on opening night, after waiting months, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Superbly acted by Daniel Radcliffe, who has successfully made the transition from mediocre actor as Harry Potter to a sophisticated adult actor, and accompanied by the magnificent Dane DeHaan who stole the show, so to speak. Michael C Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) was also wonderful in this semi biographical tale.

It's a story of romance, suspense, self-discovery and heartbreak. Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr was wonderful and charasmatic, Radcliffe demonstrates there is life after 'Potter', and their on-screen chemistry is fantastic, and I don't just mean The Kiss :)

As a tale of the Beat Generation, I'm not sure how well it tallies with history, but regardless, it's certainly a very entertaining film and I can't wait for my pre-ordered DVD to arrive when it's released!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kill Your Darlings., 5 Dec 2013
This review is from: Kill Your Darlings [DVD] (DVD)
Daniel Radcliffe stars as Beat Generation icon Allen Ginsberg in this biopic set during the famed poet's early years at Columbia University, and centering on a murder investigation involving Ginsberg, his handsome classmate Lucien Carr, and fellow Beat author William Burroughs. The year is 1944. Ginsberg (Radcliffe) is a young student at Columbia University when he falls hopelessly under the spell of charismatic classmate Carr (Dane DeHaan). Alongside Carr, Ginsberg manages to strike up friendships with aspiring writers William Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) that would cast conformity to the wind, and serve as the foundation of the Beat movement. Meanwhile, an older outsider named David Krammerer falls deeply and madly in love with the impossibly cool Carr. Later, when Krammerer dies under mysterious circumstances, police arrest Kerouac, Burroughs, and Carr as potential suspects, paving the way for an investigation that would have a major impact on the lives of the three emerging artists. Worth the watch 4*.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The truth and fiction of the angel-headed hipsters, 22 May 2014
This review is from: Kill Your Darlings [DVD] (DVD)
The title comes from William Faulkner, who reckoned the key to good writing is for the author to dispense with what he or she feels precious. It has a more literal meaning in the context of John Krokidas' debut feature, which tells the story of Lucien Carr, baddest boy of the Beat Generation, who slew David Kammerer in an alleged "honour killing" - a phrase which carried a different but no less repugnant definition in the 1940s.

The film begins with Carr (Dane DeHaan) behind bars, confronting his friend Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), and then leaps back to the beginning of their strange, brief journey together, as Ginsberg achieves his dream of walking through the sacred doors of Columbia University. He finds Carr outrageously alive. They become flirtatious friends and it becomes apparent that Carr is so alive because he's always confronting death. They confront death together. Ginsberg sees it as proof of vitality, while Carr seems to take it more seriously.

The scenes between Carr and Ginsberg are the main vein of the film, trouncing the other stuff. DeHaan and Radcliffe have fizzing chemistry, and it's in their scenes that we best get the sense of the passion driving the poetry. Poetry itself is conspicuous in its absence. If you want a movie about the experience of the Beat work, watch Rob Epstein's and Jeffrey Friedman's excellent Howl. Kill Your Darlings is predominantly a relational piece, and works best in the confines of the tender, destructive central pairing. It's here we understand love best: inspirational, yes, but also ferocious and abusive. Passionate, in the suffering sense.

The characters that orbit around them are less carefully drawn. Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) as an adulterous jock and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) as a stone-faced stoner feed into conventional college-buddy tropes. Poor Elizabeth Olsen plays Kerouac's long-suffering dame, Edie, gets to do nothing more than disapprove. And disapprove she might of these young men. The film nails the sense of the revolution being the product of little more than the (sexual) frustration of a group of classically educated school kids, misbehaving for the sake of seeing the reaction. It was arguably an era even less kind on women than it was on gay men.

The backdrop to the events in New York are those of the Second World War. In the form of news reports and Voice-O-Grams, we are fed slivers of the horrors unravelling in Europe. Whether intentional or not, this parallel narrative left me with a sense that the suffering of the jazz poets was relatively inconsequential. Perhaps it's intended as a riposte to Theodor Adorno's famously despairing conclusion: "There can be no poetry after Auschwitz". Well, there would be poetry - but it would never be the same.

For all the movie's reverse-film montages and wildfire editing, the story plays out in a fairly linear and ordered fashion. We get a bit of anachronistic Bloc Party music, but mostly this is handsome, composed, conventional filmmaking which only occasionally sparks with the passion of its protagonists. It doesn't quite suck the life out of its subject in the way that David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method somehow managed to do, but neither does it ever really open its lungs and howl at the sky in the way one wishes.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting to know the Beat Generation, 29 April 2014
By 
ReviewBlog51 (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Kill Your Darlings [DVD] (DVD)
Based on a true story, 'Kill Your Darlings' is the tale of young Allen Ginsberg (portrayed by Daniel Radcliffe, proving that there is life after Harry Potter), the famed American poet. Focusing on his early years, the young Allen is portrayed here as a rather innocent and naive young man. The son of a writer and a mentally unstable mother, when he is excepted into Columbia University, a whole new world is opened to him, and there he is able to persuade his writing talents.

He soon befriends a group of arrogant, rebellious fellow students who would later become known as the Beat Generation. This group explored very bold literary ideas, and Allen quickly adapts to their unconventional lifestyle. He even becomes involved in a gay love triangle with the charismatic and rebellious Lucien Carr (brilliantly played by Dane DeHaan), but this is to end in fatal consequences.

I knew absolutely nothing about these writers before watching, but I do enjoy a movie based on history. I thought that 'Kill Your Darlings' was memorable and stylish, brilliantly capturing the 1940s era, and is an overall interesting study into how these characterful people interacted with each other.

It has to be said that in this movie, Daniel Radcliffe has successfully moved away from the character he became so famous for, and carries off this new, completely different role well. He is becoming a talented modern actor, and his performance is far better than the one we saw in 'The Woman in Black'.

If you have an interest in the Beat Generation, I would recommend that you invest in 'Kill Your Darlings'. As I've said, I knew nothing at all about it, but found the whole film very interesting.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK but not as good as I had been led to believe, 1 July 2014
This review is from: Kill Your Darlings (DVD)
Interesting covering the college years of Allen Ginsberg and the circle of friends / acquaintances he had. I found the film a little disjointed, but the acting from the main leads was very good, but as a total package I was left thinking what might have been!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A well cast movie that wasn't that easy to watch, 1 July 2014
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This review is from: Kill Your Darlings [DVD] (DVD)
A well cast movie that wasn't that easy to watch, but it was well acted and i was interested in the subject matter, as it was before my time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 30 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Kill Your Darlings [DVD] (DVD)
Dan seems to improve as an actor with every new film
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5.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL PORTRAYAL OF ALLEN GINSBERG!, 16 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Kill Your Darlings [DVD] (DVD)
This is a Funny, heartwarming tale of one of the Best Poets!
Daniel Radcliffe is Amazing in this Roll, it is Defo NOT Harry Potter!
This lets us look through a Window to the Past and experience the Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg!
It is engaging from start to finish! I wish I could give it a Higher rating!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 15 Jun 2014
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Excellent casting/acting/production. Good to see Daniel out of his Potter mode. Commentary worth listening to make sense of the context.
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Kill Your Darlings [DVD]
Kill Your Darlings [DVD] by John Krokidas (DVD - 2014)
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