Kill Your Darlings tells the true story of love, obsession, poetry, and murder. Allen Ginsberg’s first year at Columbia University is turned upside down when he meets modern-minded Lucien Carr. Lucien introduces Allen to his group of rag-tag friends; thus, the Beats are formed. But as Allen and Lucien’s relationship deepens, things become more complicated: rebellion, liberation, and murder become their way of living. Kill Your Darlings is the story of the beginning of The Beats and the boy who brought them together.
I have sat patiently for months, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the day that I could see this film. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint one bit. Kill Your Darlings is breathtakingly beautiful. From the direction to the story to the cast, this film is pure brilliance. It’s gripping, captivating, inspiring, and beautiful. It’s quite simply, a piece of poetry.
Let’s start with the director, John Krokidas. Kill Your Darlings is Krokidas’ first motion picture, yet he directs like it’s his hundredth. What I love most about films is the visual aspect of them. With a film, I need to be captivated from the moment the opening credits appear. I need to have an emotional connection with what I see on that screen as well as the characters and story. It needs to appeal to me as much visually as it does in every other aspect. Krokidas did that. I was completely enchanted throughout the whole film.
I was absolutely floored by every aspect of this film. I’m a sucker for simplicity when it comes to direction; I don’t need flashy new camera angles or innovative digital techniques. It’s the job of the director to tell the story, to show the characters, and place the audience into a new world. And, oh boy, did Krokidas do that. From the moment the film opened, I was a part of this story. His direction was beautiful. Krokidas combines the smoothness of jazz with the chaos of adolescents to tell the perfect story. He created an environment in this film that is worthy of the rebellious Beats. He created a visual world that accurately depicts the artist’s lifestyle. Within the span of 100 minutes, Krokidas quickly became my new favorite director; I cannot wait to see more from him.
The screenplay was absolutely gripping. From the moment the film opened to the minute to closed, I was captivated and enthralled by this compelling story. I hung on to every word with batted breath. I was connected to this world, these people, and this situation. I was there with them. John Krokidas and Austin BunnIt wrote a screenplay that had a beautiful concoction of words—the script itself was written like the poetry and writings of the authors of the story.
What I loved most about this script was it focused on the character, rather than the actual murder. Rather than 100 minutes of a murder story, we got 100 minutes of character development, which I feel was the best way to tell this story. Krokidas and Austin Bunn brought to life the relationships and ideas of these extraordinary human beings. With the nature of the story, it was important for the audience to grasp these people. True, the story wasn't focused on their revolution of literature, which is what the Beats are known for, but it focused on Allen moving from an adolescent to an adult (a task which I think Radcliffe performed brilliantly). We were granted the opportunity to understand these character, and even their motives.
The cast of this film was impeccable. Each cast member gave truly inspiring performances. Firstly, let’s talk about my favorite person on this planet, Daniel Radcliffe. His performance blew me away. This performance has defined Daniel as an actor. He isn’t just a star who got lucky as a kid anymore; he has proven himself to be a fine, articulate actor. He is a true actor with the talent and passion to continue on this path for a long time. We have watched Daniel grow as an actor, and he has now reached a point where is proving he is a seasoned professional. As for character development, Radcliffe does a fantastic job showing the change within Allen. Allen moves from being a naïve, “first time” freshmen to a repressed, tortured soul within the span of his friendship with Carr. Radcliffe’s blank stares and emotionless expressions helped to portray the growing dissatisfaction Allen has in this stuffy society.
But as much I love and adore Daniel, I must admit that Dane DeHaan stole the show. I have always respected Dane as a performer. He has a raw talent that you don’t find too often. His performance as Lucien was incredible. He is manipulative and dangerous, yet charming and irresistible. He creates a sense of ease when he wants to lure you in, but its chaos once he had you. He allows the dialogue to flow naturally, yet still allows the audience to believe he is just as poetic as the other authors in the room. I loved the chemistry between Dane and Dan; they created a bond between Allen and Lucien that was both toxic yet romantic. Dane, Dan, and John work wonderfully as a team; hopefully we'll see this dynamic duo work together again soon.
Kill Your Darlings is definitely one of my new favorite films. With flawless direction, a gripping script, and fantastic cast, I give Kill Your Darlings 8 out 10.
Originally Posted on ActorNerdFashionista.blogspot.com on March 30, 2014
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