Kill Your Darlings

"A true story of obsession & murder."
KILL YOUR DARLINGS (15)
D: John Krokidas
Sony Pictures Classics/Killer Films (Michael Benaroya, Christine Vachon, Rose Ganguzza & John Krokidas)
US 2013
104 mins
 
Drama/Biopic
 
W: John Krokidas & Austin Bunn
DP: Reed Morano
Ed: Brian A. Kates
Mus: Nico Muhly
 
Daniel Radcliffe (Allen Ginsberg), Dane DeHaan (Lucien Carr), Ben Foster (William S. Burroughs), Michael C. Hall (David Kammerer), Jack Huston (Jack Kerouac), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Naomi Ginsberg), Elizabeth Olsen (Edie Parker)
 
With a title like 'Kill Your Darlings' I was expecting a much more taut, thrilling and dramatic film about a real-life murder.
Based on a true story, the movie focuses on the rise of the 'Beat Generation' writers Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, William S. Burroughs & Jack Kerouac as they plan to go against the grain of conventional prose and indulge themselves in a new wave of literature.
For the most part, the film plays out like Fight Club at Columbia University, except there's no fights, there's no conflict and there's no real drama, just a group of rather unpleasant, self-obsessed characters talking pretentiously and marvelling in their own genius. The only real rebellion they participate in on-screen is stealing the university's library keys to put banned works like Lady Chatterely's Lover on display. 
One of the biggest faults I found with the film was how openly gay Ginsberg & Carr's characters were. Perhaps they were that way in reality, but considering the events in the story took place at a time when homosexuality was not just taboo but forbidden makes this feel totally anachronistic. I'm sure the entire point of the Beat Generation school of literature was to express their lifestyle choices through their writing rather than their actions. In my opinion, the film would have been much more powerful if the characters were wrestling internally with their sexual orientation, instead of leering salaciously at each other throughout the duration.
A murder does takes place in the story but it's very much on the periphery rather than being the integral part of the story that it should be.
Overall, the film is just a giant snorefest despite a handful of good performances, especially Dane DeHaan as Carr.  Daniel Radcliffe, aside from resembling a young Allen Ginsberg is incredibly miscast (perhaps it's because his acting has no real depth. All I see is Harry Potter.)
Worth watching if you want to see a schoolboy wizard having his first gay kiss, but there's no entertainment or even educational value in this film. It's merely an independent film intended to shock with no real merits aside from some decent acting performances.
Also, the intentional anachronisms of having modern songs playing over the soundtrack was complete and utter bollocks. Pretentious bullshit.
5/10

Dane DeHaan & Daniel Radcliffe in Kill Your Darlings
Dane DeHaan & Daniel Radcliffe in Kill Your Darlings