Trending
MOST READ

Best Best-Looking Bartenders

Nightlife: Reader's Choice: 4/23/2014

Best Burger

Food: Reader's Choice: 4/23/2014
Best Artist

Best Artist

People: Reader's Choice: 4/23/2014
Best Dance Club

Best Dance Club

Nightlife: Reader's Choice: 4/23/2014
Best Photographer

Best Photographer

People: Reader's Choice: 4/23/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Screens

Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs get schooled in 'Kill Your Darlings'

Photo: Courtesy Photo, License: N/A

Courtesy Photo

Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) makes a young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) howl


Director John Krokidas and his screenwriting partner Austin Bunn make a savvy choice in their decision to bring the story of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs to the screen. Understanding that an appreciation and knowledge of the Beats can be self-limiting in terms of box office (such recent efforts as On the Road and Howl struggled to find audience), they have not only assembled an impressive roster of young actors—led by Daniel Radcliffe—but have focused the narrative on a little-known true-crime drama that occured before these alternative literary heroes had ever written a word. It’s the story of the Beats before the Beats, and so requires no particular knowledge of their work.

We meet Ginsberg (Radcliffe) as a shy New Jersey kid desperate to escape the tense claustrophobia of a home held hostage by his mentally unstable mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Accepted to Columbia University, he leaves as a starry-eyed freshman with dreams of becoming a writer. There, he quickly becomes enamored with Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), a charismatic and showy provocateur whose friends include William Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston). A self-professed rebel and lover of William Butler Yeats, Carr becomes the ringleader for the students’ anti-establishment revolution against the Ivy League school’s stodgy view of society and education. He is also the unhealthy obsession of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), a former professor and lover.

Jazz, alcohol, drugs and, of course, homosexual tensions electrify Ginsberg’s newfound independence as he’s pulled into philosophical debates, quote duels and rebellious acts against the university. This last bit provides Krokidas with his best set piece: the theft of a key and the sabotage of the library’s display cases, which he stages as a crackerjack heist sequence.

Recently in Screens & Tech
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus