Sunday, November 10, 2013

Movie Reviews: Kill Your Darlings (2013)

There is a murder in Kill Your Darlings, but this is no murder mystery. We see killer and victim in early shots of the film, even before we know their identities, but only shortly before. This is no whodunit but rather a whydunit.

And in telling the why, most of the film is told in flashback, and the murder itself ends up being the least interesting aspect of it. The story is more about the origins of the Beat poets: Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), his muse Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), the victim David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster), and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston).

Radcliffe is transformative as Allen Ginsberg, and will almost certainly make my top five for Best Actor performances. His chemistry with DeHaan, a potential Supporting Actor nominee, is palpable. I have no doubt that Radcliffe has successfully transitioned to an accomplished adult actor and will enjoy a long, varied career.

Ginsberg’s first sexual experience with a man is juxtaposed with the murder in alternating shots, and ultimately is far more interesting. As a character study and a peek at a bit of history in the 1940s, Kill Your Darlings is triumphant.

Rating: 4 ½ stars

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