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Poetry, Drugs and Murder

January 18, 2016

It is unavoidable for Beat Generation films to fall helplessly into the pile of clichés pleasantly enjoyable to watch then left  to collect dust yet John Krokida's debut feature film, Kill Your Darlings, seem to break out of the stigma, giving its audience a roller coaster ride through obsession, murder and drugs. The film also holds another novelty with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe partaking in his second film post-Harry Potter, co-starring with Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen, Kyra Sedgwick, Jennifer Jason Leigh and John Cullum. 

John Krokida’s directing career displays much promise for films to come under his direction through his directorial debut of Kill Your Darlings. Being openly gay himself, Krokida juxtaposes Allenn Ginsberg’s (Daniel Radcliffe) discovery and acceptance of his own  homosexuality with Lucien Carr’s (Dane DeHaan) self-loathing from internalised homophobia perfectly mirrors the harsh realities of being homosexual; how do you accept the you everyone was taught to view as abnormal and will the ones you love still  love you the same. Under Krokida’s lead, the film tells of Allen Ginsberg’s development as a poet through drug experimentation and extreme escapades with the rowdy and bewitching Lucien Carr, expelled Columbia sailor and writer Jack Kerouac (Ben Foster), and William S. Burrows who had already been far into drug experimentation. It explores David Kammerer’s (David C. Hall) obsessive love as well as the manifestation Ginsberg’s attraction for Carr in a dance of sensuality, desperation and heartache that eventually leads to Carr’s heart at the bottom of the sea and Ginsberg’s blossoming into a writer. Radcliffe and DeHaan’s chemistry is so palpable through the screen that the unspoken sexual tension between their characters would be enough to make audiences sweat and pray for their virtue, even more so for their charged on-screen lip locking and Radcliffe’s first love scene. Though, their on-screen time together is positively outshined by their own spectacular performances. DeHaan is the embodiment of temptation of the forbidden and the manifestation of what happens to one who has succumbed to the pains of being human in Kill Your Darlings, enchanting and breaking the audiences’ hearts harsher and harsher after every scene. Naivety and strong will takes form in Radcliffe’s performance as we walk hand in hand with Ginsberg and his growth as a person and a writer.

"Kill your Darlings" is a literary term that means to cut parts of a writing piece even if it is loved by the writer for the sake of the plot and this resonates in some of the film's most heart wrenching scenes. The palpable reality of the plot is the true soul crusher of the film; a hot pot of the ugliness of a person's humanity, crippling self-loathing, love embodied in desperation, emotional dissociation and dangerous naivety highlighted through the casts' brilliant performance. The beautiful cinematography is often highlighted through technicolor lenses of the 40s, sidled up with tracks like Lilli Marlene, Harlem On The Parade, G.I that transport the audience almost a century back in time as the vulgarity and dark humour of the script strips the film of any sugar-coating of the nitty gritty world.


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  • January 18, 2016 - 8:58pm (Now Viewing)

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