“I’ve known about the existence of Kill Your Darlings for quite a while, but not much more about the film itself other than “”Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg””. There was the casting announcements some time back. The occassional blurb reminding us the movie existed, or would exist at some point in the future. And then a picture of him in costume somewhere. Another occasional blurb that made me think “”oh yeah, that’s happening at some point””. Then suddenly the movie was here seemingly out of nowhere. Without having seen a trailer or much recent publicity, I saw it on the weekend’s movie listings. Okay sure
My only previous exposure to Ginsberg was when James Franco took a turn at playing him a couple years ago in “”Howl””. This movie occurs just before that, with Ginsberg starting college and beginning his writing, centering on his friendship with Lucien Carr (to whom his first book of poetry would be dedicated to) and the muder they got involved in. It also touches a bit on his friendship with Jack Kerouac (shortly before he journeyd on the road). Well I love me a good murder story.
In that respect, the movie felt a bit disjointed. It was framed by the murder, but focused on their writing. The early scenes seemed to promise a dark and delicious story. Then it just dove into Columbia, and was just a couple of pretentious boys discussing philosphy and poetry for a while. Then Ginsberg started writing as he got more and more rebellious. We were a good chunk thru the film before we got back to the teased murder story. I kinda feel like I was duped into watching this film expecting that to have been the center of it. I suppose it all did sorta come together, but not in the way I would have liked.
What did make the film worth watching was the performances. Once the film was out, I did catch snippets of reviews. Many of them were praising Radcliffe for breaking away from Harry Potter. But, this isn’t his first venture out there. Besides his Broadway gigs (btw, I absolutely adored him in How to Succeed…) there was also Woman in Black. I just hope that’s not a continuing trend with the reviews for every one of his films for the next ten years. For what it’s worth, I thought he was great here. I certainly did not see him as the same little boy we watched grow up, but he was fully lost in his character. And just to throw in one last HP mention, he’s def beating fellow Hogwarts pupil Emma Watson for the better American accent. I didn’t even notice until afterwards.
Equally super was Dane DeHaan. He’s really exploded on the scene over the past two years, and he certainly has more in common with doppleganger Leo DeCaprio than good looks. The boy is a fantastic actor, capable of such haunting intensity. He is picking a lot of roles with similar dark undertones, but he’s rocking them. Very excited to see where he goes next from here.
That was the extent of the cast I knew going in, but there were a few surprises. Ben Foster, Michael C Hall, Elizabeth Olsen, David Cross all made me happy. Especially Hall since I haven’t thought much about him outside of Dexter lately (side note: I watched Six Feet Under this summer for the first time. As a devoted Dexter disciple, I couldn’t help but keep thinking of it like a prequel and David would eventually become Dexter)
I don’t know if this film was really worth the mad rush to the theater, especially while I’m still behind. But I do like knowing just a little bit more about such a renowned artist, particularly when he had such an intriguing and tangled start.
Kill Your Darlings – \m/ \m/ \m/