Friday, August 28, 2020

Kill Your Darlings (2013) Directed by John Krokidas

A biographical piece about the early college days of the earliest members of the beat generation with a great cast, editing and well done screenplay that manages to keep us interested in, to be honest, are not very likeable people overall. The story does give much sympathy to it's protagonist, Alan Ginsberg played by Daniel Radcliffe, but many of his friends seem to be no more than pretentious college kids who are all in some way or another living off other people, be it their family, girlfriend... whomever. The central conflict is the killing god professor David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) in a stabbing incident. The professor seems to be obsessed with Lucien, write his papers for him for sexual favours (according the screenplay - a fact disputed by the real Lucien. There are a couple points where the story loops back on itself, showing us something and going back to what led up to it then on from there and it really works. William S. Burroughs is played by Ben Foster, a role I would not even him taking as Burroughs is so well known it would be hard not to let your performance slip into parody. But  he doesn't and after seeing him in the roles a few minutes, I found him very convincing. 

The film is not full of action as you might imagine and all the better for it. The interplay among the characters, unlikeable as students they may be at times, never feels forced and it's these interactions that get you through the film. Radcliffe is great as is everyone else. Hall manages to be both stalker and sympathetic at times and the early beat scene is portrayed well without over dramatizing or exaggerating it. 

The film did very poorly in release, costing 6 million with a box office of only about 2 million and I wonder if it had been made more recently if it might have ended up a hit on a streaming platform as it seems well suited for that format which as of this writing seems to have a larger audience for a drama like than we are likely to see in cinemas again anytime soon, if ever. It deserves to be seen and bravo for those who put it together. 

No comments: