Kill Your Darlings (2013)

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every Lucien Carr bon mot

Take a Drink: whenever WWII is mentioned

Take a Drink: for “reefer” or other drugs

Take a Drink: for subway maps

Take a Drink: for unambiguously gay innuendos

Do a Shot: haha, attempted suicide

Do a Shot: oh shit, attempted suicide

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

I don’t know what it is about Allen Ginsberg movies that draws such ridiculously stacked casts, but after seeing the stuffed to the rafters cast of Howl, I was surprised to discover that Kill Your Darlings blow it out of the water.

Allen Ginsberg1

And yet, somehow Jeff Goldblum has never played the man.

Kill Your Darlings is about the early friendship of some of the Beat Generation’s most emblematic writers, including Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) as they interact in and around 1940s Columbia University, brought together by their mutual friend Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan).  However, passion and murder loom over their personal and creative lives.

A Toast

So yeah, that cast’s about as good as it gets.  Radcliffe, like a lot of young blockbuster franchise actors (see: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, or to a… stranger… extent, Shia LaBeouf), has been distancing himself fro his beginnings as quickly as his agent can push him, and turns in fine work as a nebbish, restrained young Ginsberg getting his first taste of artistic and literal freedom.  Dane DeHaan is over the top, but utterly magnetic, marching ever closer to stardom (he’ll be playing James Dean next year, which should do it).  Jack Huston may seem to be choosing roles entirely based on his haircut, but delivers another strong, masculine turn as Kerouac.  Elizabeth Olsen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Michael C. Hall also deliver in widely disparate roles, but my favorite of everyone is Foster’s Burroughs, who may be heavily indebted to Hunter S. Thompson, but steals ever scene he’s in.

ginsberg2

Lastly, casting David Cross as Ginsberg’s father is why casting directors deserve their own Oscar.

John Krokidas shows some nice directing chops, especially in one slowed down drug trip where DeHaan becomes the Devil’s own advocate.  The title sequence was awesome, too, and while some people might not, I dug how he incorporated some contemporary tunes, like TV on the Radio’s “Wolf Like Me” during a library caper.

Beer Two

If only he’d just taken that stylized path, instead of trying to straddle it and more staid period pic conventions.  The result is a film that is neither fish nor fowl, and which sometimes feels like Krokidas is doing something a certain way just because it sounded cool at the time.

Beer Three

Kill Your Darlings tries hard to cultivate a noir-like, mysterious vibe surrounding the murder at its center, but it’s not much of a mystery to begin with, and the choice to start the movie en murder res basically eliminates any suspense it might have had.

Beer Four

The worst part of the film is how much it demythologizes the Beat Generation while attempting the opposite.  Again, Krokidas is trying to have his cake and eat it to, but often just makes his characters seem spoiled and pretentious and difficult to imagine going on to the vibrant, distinguished careers they did.  Then he tries too hard to be portentous and foreshadowing of both his mystery and their later careers.  Instead, the effect is clunky and highly unsubtle, kind of a like a whole TV show’s worth of comic book characters.

gothan-the-penguin

Hey, I know what a The Penguin is!  Look Ma, Ise smart!

Verdict

Kill Your Darlings’ deep and talented cast keeps it afloat, but it would have been nice if its script and direction had been a little less leaky.

3beers

About Henry J. Fromage

Movieboozer is a humor website and drinking games are intended for entertainment purposes only, please drink responsibly.

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