Monday, December 9, 2013

Kill Your Darlings

Movie Name: Kill your Darlings
Year of Release: 2013
Director: John Krokidas
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Elizabeth Olsen, John Cullum
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

"Kill your Darlings" is the feature debut from John Krokidas. It follows the coming of age story of American poet Allen Ginsberg and his relationship with Lucien Carr. The film introduces us to Allen Ginsberg, as he's about to go to college, and leaving behind a family life that is in shambles (with his unstable mother and father who has checked out). Once in college, Allen comes across the charismatic Lucien Carr, who is involved with an individual by the name of David Kammerer. Allen becomes tangled in a literary circle that also includes Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, which expands his notions of writing, of life and also of his own sexuality. In fact he becomes very affectionate towards Lucien Carr, who while trying to dismiss David's attentions, ends up dramatically changing the lives of everyone.
John Krokidas builds with "Kill your Darlings" a portrait/snapshot of the beat generation movement. The ghosts of the war, the exploration of sexuality for new artists, experimentation with drugs, the fluid movement of music, all permeating and influencing what would become the next generation of writers and artists. The film is successful in it's depiction of the insecurities of young Allen Ginsberg, his attempts at finding his own artistic voice, and ultimately at finding his own sense of self (including his sexuality). The relationship that Allen slowly builds with Lucien Carr is one of mutual exploration for both young men, though it's ultimate resolution reveals more about the prejudices of those times.  The acting is uniformly good, with Daniel Radcliffe creating a young and emotional Allen Ginsberg, while Dane DeHaan is more cerebral and aloof as Lucien. The supporting cast is equally good, with highlights going to Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael C. Hall. A good film worth watching.