Published on November 18, 2013 | by Tim Greensmith

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Review: Kill Your Darlings

Kill your Darlings Poster

Daniel Radcliffe (right) stars as Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings [Sony Pictures]

★★★ • •

Set in 1944 and based on a true story, Kill Your Darlings follows the poet laureate of the Beat Generation, Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), as he leaves home to study at Colombia University in New York.

It is there that he meets fellow student Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) who in turn introduces him to author Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston).

Ginsberg, entranced by Carr, follows him to the darkest depths of New York’s literary scene.

Their friendship is complicated by David Kammerer (Michael C Hall) an older man, obsessively pursuing Carr. Ginsberg is then shown rebelling and discovering jazz and drugs for the first time.

In one scene, he sits at a typewriter, high on speed typing at a ferocious pace.

The film also attempts to show Ginsberg, Kerouac and author William Burroughs (Ben Foster) creating a new literary genre.

Surprisingly, Radcliffe is quite good.

He plays a young and awkward Ginsberg while Huston fleshes out Kerouac well, to the point that it is hard to imagine any other actor in the role.

At times, DeHaan outshines the other lead actors.

However, Radcliffe quickly returns focus to Ginsberg as the central character.

Overall, the film starts strongly but begins to wane towards the end, but it is shot beautifully with a technicolor-like palette and worth seeing for the performances.

It also does well in showing the famous literary figures of the Beat Generation before they had developed completely as writers.

Ginsberg would eventually go on to write arguably, his most famous poem Howl, and become one of the most important voices of the 1960s counterculture.

Burroughs would go on to write novels including Junkie and Naked Lunch and Kerouac would write On The Road. Ginsberg appears in On The Road as character Carlo Marx.

Kill Your Darlings is out in cinemas December 6.

 



 

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