Kill Your Darlings (2013) Movie Review

Ginsberg, Words, Sex and Drugs

Inspired by true event in the late 40s, Kill Your Darlings is about a young Lucien Carr who killed his former lover slash stalker David Kammerer. The movie’s told from the point of view of the fame American poet, Allen Ginsberg, during his college years in Columbia University. The film also depicts the start of Beat Generation, a group of American writers (William S. BurroughsJack Kerouac to name a few) who gained fame after the WWII. Kill Your Darlings poster is ludicrous because the film is not a murder mystery, it’s about obsession, coming of age and power of manipulation.

Kill Your Darlings started out with a bang and carries itself in a whirlwind direction where it doesn’t stop. Despite the fast pace and good editing, I also like how inspiring it can be. The movie did a marvelous job at showing how wild, eccentric and thirsty of experience writers really are. I love when they recite poems while being drunk or when they replace all the “great” books at the university with their own choices (you can see Joyce’s Ulysses clearly in this scene). I also adore the rebellion theme in this film, which sticks true to its history. All of the writers and poets feature in this film are rebels who gained fame for their unconventional yet thought-provoking topics. Director John Krokidas is a newbie himself in the directing game, hence why I sense a ‘jump’ in the movie, but you can’t ignore his slick direction skill. The editing by Brian A. Kates is also quite phenomenal as well giving the movie its artistic tone.

Playing the younger version of the late poet Allen Ginsberg, Radcliffe gave an honest and outstanding performance in my opinion. His mannerism, his style, his hair, his accent and his frontal nudity here is nothing but a sincere approach of an actor who wants to breaks out from his earlier role. Where else the charming Dane DeHaan, is amazing as Lucian Carr, he gave such a chilling performance making him my new favourite actor.

My favourite scene is when Ginsberg took drugs from Burroughs and writes an essay in his dorm room. He is in his underwear, behaving like a maniac, even jerking off in the middle of his writing break, while pacing back and forth trying to finish his work. The act nicely depicts the madness in Kill Your Darlings.

Here is an excerpt from Ginsberg’s Howl, hope you like it:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of the night.”


6 thoughts on “Kill Your Darlings (2013) Movie Review

  1. jjames36

    I meant to see this in theaters, but scheduling didn’t allow before it left the local art-house cinema. Now that I can probably rent it, though, I will see it soon. Hopefully I like it as much as you do.

    Good review.

  2. 13mesh

    I hope you will like it too. I think the movie has received many positive reviews. Definitely worth a rent. Thank you, James!

  3. thycriticman

    You are correct about Dane DeHaan. The guy is incredible in this film. I just watched it a few nights ago, and while I cannot decide if I loved it or not, I do recognize a good film when I see one! Everyone did a great job!

  4. 13mesh

    Right! I am looking forward to his role in Spider Man, think he will be awesome 🙂 frankly, now I am not sure if I love the movie that much too ha ha. But it’s definitely a good cinematic experience.

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