Movie: Kill Your Darlings
My Rating: 3 stars
I’ll be honest with you. I really only rented this movie because I wanted to see Daniel Radcliffe playing a role that wasn’t Harry Potter—something a little more mature. I wasn’t really all that interested in the Allen Ginsberg story. I saw James Franco in Howl, and found it thoroughly ok. While I recognize Ginsberg’s historical significance, I really don’t go in for poetry all that much. So I really feel like an outsider hearing people drone on and on about how transcendent it is. Although, the titillating, gay, love triangle story line, seasoned with a dash of murder did help pique my interest a little. But, I really don’t think I would have bothered with this movie if it hadn’t been for Radcliffe.
This film tells the story of Ginsberg in his college years at Columbia. He’s a naïve, little thing. He came from an oppressive household, dealing with parents with mental illness, and college is his first taste of freedom. So he was an easy target for sexy classmate, Lucien Carr, to introduce him to the world of Beat poetry. Of course, with poetry comes all the revelry and substance abuse and bad life choices. And, Carr is a strange creature. He seems to love all the attention heaped on him by crushes. He welcomes attention from men and women alike. And Ginsberg falls hard. But, Carr seems committed to refusing anyone who actually tries to make anything happen. But booze, Quaaludes, and jealousy make a particularly ugly cocktail. So, I guess it’s only a matter of time before the murdering begins. Although, this movie isn’t really about a murder. Sure, it’s the central plot point in this story. But, I think the movie is meant to be more of a portrait of the time than a true narrative. It paints a very rich picture of the chaos, and intoxicating allure of the Beat movement. The romance really did seem to give people permission to get carried away and make rash decisions. And, I did like that part of the film.
I can’t say that I loved this movie, but I did find things to like. As I mentioned above, I really didn’t find the story to be all that compelling, even with all the murder and sex. But, then I also recognize that that really wasn’t the point of this film. I did like the atmosphere that the movie created, and I guess it’s worth watching if only for that. Then, of course, there’s Daniel Radcliffe, and I did enjoy watching him in a grown-up role. I guess you’ll want to watch this one if you’re either a fan of Daniel Radcliffe, a fan of Allen Ginsberg, or a fan of Beat poetry in general. But, if you don’t have at least one of those three things helping you, you might find this movie a bit of a snooze.