Summary: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.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 12th December, 2013
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: John Krokidas
Screenwriter: Austin Bunn, John Krokidas
Cast: Zach Appelman (Luke Detiweler), Michael Cavadias (Ray Conklin), David Cross (Louis Ginsberg), John Cullum (Professor Stevens), Erin Darke (Gwendolyn), Dane DeHaan (Lucien Carr), Jon DeVries (Mr. Burroughs), Ben Foster (William Burroughs), Michael C. Hall (David Kammerer), Jack Huston (Jack Kerouac), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Naomi Ginsberg), Leslie Meisel (Edith Cohen), Elizabeth Olsen (Edie Parker), Daniel Radcliffe (Allen Ginsberg), David Rasche (Dean), Kyra Sedgwick (Marian Carr), Kevyn Settle (Norman), Nicole Signore (Page)
Runtime: 103 mins
OUR KILL YOUR DARLINGS REVIEWS & RATINGS:
There comes a time in each teenage film star’s career when they need to breakout of that mould and reveal themselves as an actor who can not only prove themselves as an adult actor but also somebody who is good enough to keep finding work for the next 30 to 50 years in the industry. Now is that time for Daniel Radcliffe who of course started his career as the boy wizard himself Harry Potter.
Now Harry’s put his wand back in the cupboard Radcliffe needs to show that he can play other characters and to the young stars’ credit he has tackled some ambitious projects. Firstly there was the stage nudity as he took the lead role in the theatre production of “Equus” and then he delved into Gothic Horror with “The Woman In Black.” Now in his latest feature film role Radcliffe finds himself entwined in a tale of homosexuality and murder as he portrays one of America’s greatest literature figures in “Kill Your Darlings.”
Radcliffe plays poet Allen Ginsberg at a time in his life when his famous father Louis Ginsberg (David Cross) watches as his son goes off to college at Columbia and his mother Naomi (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is admitted into a mental institution.
Allen’s arrival at Columbia opens his eyes up to a new world of literature, the forbidden fruit of people such as Harry Miller. He finds himself fascinated and intrigued by fellow student Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) whose charm, wit and boyish good looks makes him the kind of person that anyone will do anything for… something that ultimately brings about his downfall.
Soon Allen finds himself joining Lucien’s call for destroying the popular literature of the day and replacing it with the risqué and throwing all literature rules out the window. Together they team up with Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) to begin the revolution. But soon the band of talented young writers find themselves involved in a murder that threatens to end their promising careers before they have even started.
As a film “Kill Your Darlings” delivers a story of intrigue that certainly draws in its audience but you are left feeling like director John Krokidas (who is a first time feature film director) needed to push this film a little further. It’s a gritty and dirty story but Krokidas seems to just skirt around the edges. Sure there is heavy drug use and Radcliffe partakes in several scenes of homosexual passion and sex but the storyline at hand here really called for Krokidas to push the envelope a little further. The full answers about Lucien and David’s (Michael C. Hall) relationship seems cloudy. Was Lucien just a gifted player who knew how to get what he wanted or was David the sexual predator that Lucien and his mother suggested he was. Then of course there’s the other big question that gets thrown up but never really answered, why did Allen tell David where Lucien was when he knew the young boy was trying to escape him. The fact that these questions are never answered ends up with “Kill Your Darlings” becoming a good-rather-than-great film.
The power of this film though lays in the characterisation and the way those characters are portrayed by the actors involved. Radcliffe portrays the naive and often confused Ginsberg quite well. Archival footage shows that Radcliffe captured a lot of Ginsberg’s awkward facial expressions extremely well and the young actor can certainly hold his head up high as he does more than enough to suggest that he has a lengthy career ahead of him. As previously mentioned Radcliffe does deliver some risqué scenes but just imagine what could have been if Krokidas had decided to take this film a little further.
Krokidas has also surrounded Radcliffe with some fine acting talent. Jack Huston delivers a strong performance as he shows Jack Kerouac in a very different light to the way he was portrayed in “On The Road” while Ben Foster is haunting and virtually unrecognisable as he delves deeply into some character acting while he plays William Burroughs.
The standout actor here though is Dane DeHaan whose roles in films such as “Lawless,” “Chronicle” and “Metallica’s Through The Never” have been promising, but here he delivers. DeHaan seems to call on the skills of a young Leonardo DiCaprio as he shines in a role that will certainly be deemed his breakout role in the years to come. His performance is strong throughout and he often steals scenes away from his much more experienced co-stars.
Like “Howl” and “On The Road” before it “Kill Your Darlings” is an interesting insight to the tragic and somewhat strange lives of some of America’s most famous literacy giants, and while the film is a great watch it will always be a film that leaves you wondering what could have been if the director had the courage to go that little bit further.
Please check Greg’s review of ‘Kill Your Darlings’ that is available on www.filmreviews.net.au
Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Kill Your Darlings′: Please check our Kill Your Darlings review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep 62.