You’re a Poet, Harry
By Adam Sturrock
Kill your Darlings (2013)
Director: John Krokidas
Writer: John Krokidas, Austin Bunn
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane Dehaan, Ben Foster, Michael C Hall, Jack Huston
One of the most interesting literary periods in America was spawned by the people that are dubbed as the Beat Generation. On the Road and Howl were part of that renaissance from Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, respectively. The latter is the primary focus in Kill Your Darlings, which tries to place its finger where it all started at Columbia University.
A turn from innocence is the main talking point of the film as both Ginsberg and the actor, Radcliffe shed their innocent images and take the plunge into uncharted waters. We see the young prodigy approach Columbia University with naive trepidation only to be consumed by drugs, sex and writing liberation.
With on paper, a very exciting cast primarily featuring the aforementioned actor, Dane Dehaan (The Place Beyond the Pines and Chronicle) and Michael C Hall (Dexter) the film should be a knock out. And it almost is. The performances are mostly strong throughout but unfortunately the plot bogs the film down as it offers nothing new to the table. Drugs in tea, sexual escapades, hipsters in jazz bars and an eventual conclusion to a murder case; what we see is predictable half of the time. But I feel the direction chosen for the film is correct comparing this to another beat generation film, Howl.
None the less, the film is fairly solid and is an interesting perspective on the birth of one the great periods of American literature.