Film Reviews: Kill Your Darlings

After watching this film I spent hours in deep thought about the Beat Generation, and the positive effects it had on Allen Ginsberg’s life. He got his heart broken by Lucien Carr but in a way Carr did him a huge favour by Introducing Ginsberg to many other people ( Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and John Clellon Holmes. To name a few) who went on to become Beat writers like Ginsberg.
The plot is all about how Allen Ginsberg wins himself a place at Columbia University in New York in the 40’s. Shortly after arriving there he meets Lucien Carr who is incredibly rowdy and has a anti-establishmentarian attitude.
Ginsberg eventually discovers that Carr is not doing his course work, instead an older man, David Kammerer, who is a teacher writes all of his term papers for him. More investigation shows that Kammerer and Carr are former lovers, but Carr has moved on whilst Kammerer still feels a strong love for him. Carr is abusing his role in the relationship by using Kammerer.
Classmates of Ginsberg’s include William S Burroughs, the writer known to be rebellious and who was very interested in drug experimentation, and Jack Kerouac, the sailor gone writer. During his time at Columbia Ginsberg finds himself in many extreme escapades with these people.
Later in the film Car finds the courage to tell Kammerer to leave him alone and, after sharing a racy kiss with Ginsberg, gets Ginsberg to write his term papers instead. Not long after the shared kiss Carr tries to run off with Kerouac to join the merchant marine together. Kammerer finds about about these plans and goes to confront Carr who ends up not going with Kerouac, but instead pays Ginsberg a visit to confirm that the kiss meant something to him.
Kammerer and Carr meet only once more where Kammerer is killed by stabbing and possibly drowning. Naturally, Carr is arrested for the crime he committed and asks Ginsberg to defend him in court. What Ginsberg does as a result of being asked such a question is in some ways a brave move. He writes a piece called “The Night in Question” which describes a very emotional event where Kammerer tells Carr to kill him after being threatened by Carr with a knife. Carr rejects the story and Ginsberg submits it as his final term paper only to be expelled because of the racy content. A couple of weeks after being expelled Ginsberg receives his piece if work back from Columbia with an encouraging letter from him lecturer to stick with writing.
Kill Your Darlings really captures the bond that Ginsberg created with all these poets who didn’t abide by the rules and always talked about a “New Vision” for literature that would benefit the youth of America. The film shows off the rebellious stage of these young men’s lives incredibly well with out insulting the memories they would share with each other.
Radcliffe really wowed me with his performance as the poet Ginsberg, so much that despite him fashioning the owly spectacles like potter the young wizard never entered my mind once when watching the film. Radcliffe’s accent also impressed me, there was not a slip up anywhere he was a believable American poet. This young man is someone to look out for, he has really proved his acting ability since the Potter films ended and I know that he will continue to for years to come.
I can not recommend this film enough, it’s fun, dramatic and tragic all at the same time, but some how the director, John Krokidas, manages to balance it all out so that you really believe these actors are the poets. He really managed to show how quickly the mood of these young men changed after the kill really effectively with the use of the actors facial expressions and interesting shots making it a good looking film with a lot of captured emotion with in it. An incredible watch and possibly one of my new favourite films of all time.
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Author: Jodie Paterson

I'm Jodie Paterson, a 24 year old Edinburgh based blogger! Born and raised in Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire, I quickly grew a passion for writing, photography and many other creative ventures due to the beautiful Scottish landscapes that surrounded me, and I'm now 5 years in to my blogging journey and still absolutely loving it!

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