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Movie review – Kill Your Darlings

| 15 December 2013

Movie review – Kill Your Darlings
Directed by John Krokidas
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C Hall
Reviewed by Trulie Pinnegar

Kill Your Darlings movie

Viewers start to feel sympathy for the lead character Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) from the start of the movie as they learn about his family life – a mentally ill mother (played expertly by Jennifer Jason Leigh) and a poet father (David Cross) who, unlike his son, feels his wife would be better cared for in hospital. It is with relief that the audience learns Allen is accepted to Columbia University – at last, viewers think, he has a chance to escape and live his own life…

But maybe Ginsy embraces college Beat-poet life too passionately in order to escape his humdrum childhood, because very quickly, he becomes infatuated with the controversial Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan, last seen in Metallica’s Through The Never). This attraction soon leads to a life of debauchery and anti-establishmentarianism, particularly when Ginsy and friends Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) meet Carr’s Sugar Daddy David Kammerer (played chillingly by Michael C Hall).

Carr’s neediness of Ginsy is troubling – DeHaan plays the ‘poor little rich boy’ perfectly, leaving the viewer with no sympathy for him whatsoever, rather feeling ‘You only have yourself to blame Lu’ – Ginsy bails him out of more than one scrape. But it’s his worst scrape of all that leaves Ginsberg realising that there’s only so much he can do for Lu and leaves his love unrequited, but enables him to go on and make the life of his own that he so deserves.

The plotline is unique and the movie pays homage to the era well – it was fascinating to see how ‘voice-o-grams’ kept men in the forces in touch with their friends and families – but it felt that the movie was wanting to shock with the gay love thread in the plot. The movie underachieved here – maybe the producers thought it would shock viewers to see Harry Potter kiss a man. But Harry Potter was far from the audiences’ mind as Daniel Radcliffe’s portrayal of Ginsberg is captivating and not in the least bit reminiscent of HP.

The story will be interesting to those who know the works of Ginsberg, Carr, Kerouac or Burroughs and want to view a piece of history that is not commonly known. But otherwise, the movie lacks appeal and intrigue for the everyday viewer.



Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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