Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHann and Michael C. Hall
After last year’s long awaited film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD disappointed audiences, Hollywood is giving the beat generation another go with KILL YOUR DARLINGS. John Krokidas’s film follows Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) through his time at college, where he meets and befriends Lucien Carr (Dane DeHann), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster). One of the film’s main arcs concerns Ginsberg discovering his homosexuality, as he finds himself increasingly attracted to Carr, who is romantically involved with David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall). Krokidas’s film is at times a pretty wild ride, featuring plenty of sex, murder, and great poetry but, like ON THE ROAD before it, it wears out its welcome before getting to the point.
KILL YOUR DARLINGS often borders on being bold and profound but never quite gets there. When it gets close, it can be attributed to the ensemble. Radcliffe gives a strong performance as Allen Ginsberg, but, all the same, he is greatly outshined by co-star, DeHann. Unfortunately, Michael C. Hall does not break away from his title character from the series “Dexter”; so it rather feels like Dexter Morgan is playing David Kammerer, rather than Hall. The rest of the performances are good, but no others stand out, which is disappointing considering how many opportunities there are to do so.
The film is initially very promising, but begins to lose steam at the halfway point, in a scene where Ginsberg and his friends attempt to steal some restricted books from the library. This scene feels very awkward, as it is done in a completely different style than the rest of the film. For some reason Krokidas plays this scene like it’s from an action movie, rather than a period drama. Inconsistencies like this make the film feel disjointed, and not in a poetic fashion. Ultimately, KILL YOUR DARLINGS is a decent film but never matches the genius of the characters it presents.