Written by / 11/20/2013 / No comments / , , ,

KILL YOUR DARLINGS

year: 2013 cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster rating: **
College professor David Kammerer was the buzzkill/albatross of the Beat Generation, that small group of bohemian writers who, during the 1940’s, began what would change literature while incipiently shaping the pivotal hippie era and, well, the rest is history…

Kammerer's adoration for young pretty boy Lucien Carr, and the murder that resulted, is covered in several Jack Kerouac novels including VANITY OF DOLUOZ, DESOLATION ANGELS and even his first venture, TOWN AND THE CITY…

But the main character is poet Allen Ginsberg, equal to Jack in the Beat template along with the strange, mythical William Burroughs…
Dane DeHaan and Daniel Radcliffe as Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg
Young HARRY POTTER icon Daniel Radcliffe plays Ginsberg with the kind of sympathetic pathos begging for a transformation: in this case, drug-use leading to writing leading to homosexuality… But we’re skipping ahead… When Allen first escapes his crazy mother and becomes a Columbia University freshman, he’s somewhat of an empty canvas…

Enter Dane DeHaan as Lucian Carr, an elfin, blond-haired/blue-eyed contemplating beatnik before there was such a thing… Despite being the poster child for cerebral pretentiousness, Carr becomes an investigative mentor to Ginsberg…

The more interesting scenes have the duo clashing with the uptight status quo while discovering drugs, jazz and planning a foundational “New Vision” to put the older poets (ala Ogden Nash) to rest… And, like the sound of an orchestra tuning, there’s only an eerie squeezebox of intention sans the necessary talent to progress their (at that point) lofty ideals…
Real life Jack Kerouac, Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg
Legendary author Jack Kerouac, whose ON THE ROAD – along with Ginsberg’s epic poem HOWL – ignited the Beat Generation, is a third-fiddle womanizer and the least important here… Meanwhile, a lanky Burroughs mumbles through experimental drug trips and the character that should have been more prominent is Kammerer himself, the bearded college professor played by DEXTER star Michael C. Hall…

With only a sporadic dash of scenes, mostly involving Kammerer desperately hounding Lucien while a peripheral friendship/romance with Ginsberg blossoms, he serves more as a distraction than an essential catalyst... treated like a special guest star throughout. What’s ironic is the Kammerer/Carr case slowed down the addictive spontaneity of the Kerouac novels, and amounts to little here…

The real purpose of KILL YOUR DARLINGS is Carr’s hypocrisy countered by Ginsberg’s realization as a homosexual morphing into a significant generational spokesman… And in that, Radcliffe’s edgy demeanor exceeds a visually pleasing but ultimately monotone story, rushing through what’s really important: the collaborating genius between the three primary Beats: Instead we’re left with a cinematic version of Ginsberg and Carr’s grandiloquent NEW VISION… A potential spark without any real burn…
True life William Burroughs, Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg
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