Kill Your DarlingsCultureCinemaMovie reviews
It has taken a lot of hard work and perseverance (not to mention willingness to bare all at a moment’s notice), but Daniel Radcliffe may finally have surpassed the shadow of Harry Potter.
In John Krokidas’ feature directorial debut, Radcliffe stars as poet Allen Ginsberg during his formative years as a Columbia University student. This previously untold story relays how a young Ginsberg fell pray to the devilish charms of juvenile delinquent Lucien Carr (Dane Dehaan) and how their relationship, along with William Burroughs (Ben Foster), initiated the foundation of the Beat Generation.
Accompanied by Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), the young writers’ attempt to disrupt the university’s status quo ultimately leads them on a malignant path of sex, drugs, self-discovery and even murder.
Set in 1944, the film is fairly contained (despite reports of lavish scenery), situated mainly within the university, it’s dormitories and the local jazz hut the young sophisticates regularly inhabit. Each scene is melodiously wrapped in an elegant bronze tint that seamlessly sets the mood, assisted by a wonderful mix of appropriately selected show-tune hits and newsreels of the era.
Radcliffe’s portrayal of a gutsy yet credulous Ginsberg anchors the film with youthful excitement and polite vulnerability. Foster’s rendition of the stoically witty Burroughs is a delight from beginning to end. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Dehaan’s Lucien who, despite claiming half the screen time, falls short of capturing the charisma and allure the character so richly demands.
That said, it’s nothing to take away from the outright compelling unconventional love triangle between Ginsberg, Lucien and his obsessed ex-lover David Kammerer, played by Michael C. Hall in a phenomenal show-stealing performance. Hall’s commitment to the role is a true pleasure to witness. He conveys a genuine sense of love and desperation that Dexter fans may find startling, having been used to his now famous deadpan glare.
Though the story can at times seem somewhat muted to justify certain character actions, Kill Your Darlings is a well-formulated and clever film that never comes across too academic or conceited.
Kill Your Darlings is released nationwide on 6th December 2013.
Watch the trailer for Kill Your Darlings here: