Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Film Kill Your Darlings tells the classic tales of college, delivering a few wild twists hiding in the horizons

It seems that in each new iteration of the Beat Generation that has come out in recent years the same three titles are heard: Howl, Naked Lunch and On the Road.

By far the most popular pieces by Beatniks Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs but also the most tired. This is what makes Kill Your Darlings such a fascinating film-it brings our wandering poetic heroe’s back to the beginning, where they all met and by no means were they individuals to model yourselves after.

It is 1944 and Beat Generation icon Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) has just been accepted into Columbia University. It’s there that he meets and falls for the mysterious Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) who introduces him to his future fellows, William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston).

Carr however has the extra baggage of David Krammerer (Michael C. Hall) who has developed an obsession with Carr that has amounted to dangerous episodes. It is this relationship that provides the focal point of the movie where a murder disembowels the group’s dynamics and changes the course of their lives forever.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Director of the film John Krokidas has produced his first feature length film, and unless having been told that, I never would have presumed that to be the truth.

The final product is gorgeously shot, utilizing their sets and on scene location shooting to the fullest extent. There’s a 1940’s edge, from the music played to their hand rolled cigarettes, the atmosphere is wonderful and domineering.

Krokidas is one to watch for considering the minimal budget used for this film and what he managed to make with it.

The acting is even better and helps propel a sloppily edited and in need of a trim ending, sure the movie could have shaved off about 20 minutes,  but with the performances given for the first hour and twenty minutes, can we really complain?

Foster is a chameleon actor who allows for Burroughs eccentricities to build the character rather turn him into a caricature: he’s soft spoken, always high on something, with a consistently underlying feeling that he’s a ticking time bomb.

Huston plays Kerouac as the relaxed, easy-going charisma infused man who many envision him to be but due to the main players was given a lot of background work and few big character moments to play with.

It is DeHaan and Radcliffe however whose performances-and palpable sexual chemistry are the driving forces of the film.

DeHaan is likely Hollywood’s next heavy hitter and plays Carr with a vulnerability and intensity that’s so well equally measured that it’s difficult to see what version of Carr is the real one: or if there’s a real one at all.

It is not my favorite performance by DeHaan as it lacks the organic quality that he lent to his characters in Chronicle and The Place Beyond the Pines but it is hard to deny the powerhouse that you are watching.

Radcliffe has possibly one of the most interesting trajectories of any young actor and Kill Your Darlings proves there is range that is only beginning to be tapped into. If this performance is any indication on how he career will play out it is going to be an exciting ride.

Over time readers have becomes overwhelmed with admiration for the Beat Generation (as they do with Holden Caulfield of Catcher in the Rye) believing their lifestyles and morals were ones to try and capture themselves-believing that it was the renaissance of thoughts and creativity and failing to see the dark and gritty underbelly of the groups beliefs. While Kill Your Darlings doesn’t go as far as disillusionment, Krokidas does thankfully paint them as humans, rather than characters created from the page. Carr is manipulative and shallow, Ginsberg is easily played and at the time lacks much of a backbone with his peers, Kerouac is cocky and terrible to his wife and Burroughs is so addled on drugs he’s nearly incomprehensible.

This movie is full of faults-Editing, awkward bridge of genres, a dull final act are among them but the tension and the chemistry and the acting and the mood are so stellar, and so well performed that despite the issues you’ll leave the theater feeling content.

Kill Your Darlings is now in theatres.

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Film Kill Your Darlings tells the classic tales of college, delivering a few wild twists hiding in the horizons