I first saw Kill Your Darlings at a press release just before the film was released. I unfortunately did not get the chance to write up the review in time, which is a shame because it was accompanied by a question and answer session with Daniel Radcliffe (Allen Ginsberg). I thought, considering I always planned to review this film, I would give it another go.
The plot is not a straight-forward, linear one. It is about revolution and love: about acceptance and belonging: about being something more than what the universe dictates. While it is full of big ideas and big names – the best poets at the time – the plot dragged and the film felt incredibly long. It didn’t hold my interest that well.
The characters were complex, but so much of the film involved them hallucinating, it is hard to see how they develop and react to the events surrounding them. Despite learning how to follow his heart, Ginsberg ends up right back where he started, albeit it with more of an appreciation of poetry. Being based on a true story limits the potential, but the characters could have been more.
While the acting was good enough to make the characters work, I don’t think any particular performance was strong enough to really pack an emotional punch. Dane DeHaan (Lucien Carr) was the strongest, managing to portray a tormented young man who struggled with life. When his ex-lover (David Kammere played by Michael C. Hall) first shows up at the apartment, DeHaan folds in on himself and it is one of the most powerful visuals in the film about his confliction. Not the rants, the drugs or the drinking, but his internal dilemma.
The film is circular, starting at the end and ending at the start, a visual representation of the revolution and the sayings that the poets were living by. The clever metaphors, however, do not distract from the way the film feels like it drags.
I’m glad to have seen Kill Your Darlings in a setting where I could appreciate it more than a packed cinema. For me, however, the film is an effort to get through and feels like it missed a spark. A film to only watch once.
This story is a historical drama concerning the life of Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) and his time at Columbia University. The story centers on the events leading up to the murder of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) of which we gets glimpses of in the beginning. The film concentrates on the complex relationship of Ginsberg and Carr, from their writing, to sharing of private lives, to their "New Vision" their "rearrangement of the senses" to their lover relationship.
Other characters include Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster). They created an avant-garde culture by rejecting cultural values, and in a way were the anti-Fitzgeralds while being them.
Danie Radcliffe shows us that if you spend enough time in front of a camera, you can one day be an actor. He was excellent in his role, as were the supporting cast. I would have appreciated a more colorful Jack Kerouac.
A good historical drama for those who might find interest in the topic.
Parental Guide: F-bomb. Sex (male-male, oral) male rear nudity.
I initially bought this film because of Daniel Radcliffe, though I do watch films in this genre, I wasn't sure this was my kind of film, I was way off though, I loved it. This is a film of two parts and a mix of genres, it's romance, suspense, crime, coming of age and drama all in one, it totally surprised me. Daniel Radcliffe stars as poet Allen Ginsberg and 'Kill your darlings' tells the story of his life in the mid 1940s and the beginnings of the beats generation. How accurate to real life this film is, I'm not sure but I found it fascinating and Radcliffe shows he is much more than Harry Potter, he has genuine talent and plays this part perfectly. I should also mention Dane DeHaan, he is so believable and the chemistry between himself and Daniel is undeniable. I watched this film twice in a row, the second time with the commentary, which I highly recommend, and I will definitely be watching it again.