Entertainment » Movies

Kill Your Darlings

by Louise Adams
Friday Mar 21, 2014
Kill Your Darlings

Director/co-writer John Krokidas and co-writer Austin Bunn play out a twisted, true year in the life of burgeoning writer friends Allen Ginsberg (grounded Daniel Radcliffe, in Potter-esque glasses), Jack ("On the Road") Kerouac (Jack Huston, grandson of director John), William ("Naked Lunch" and "Junkie") Burroughs (Ben Foster), and Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) for the film "Kill Your Darlings," shot over only 24 days as a Blu-ray extra notes.

Ginsberg leaves his Paterson, New Jersey, home in 1944 to escape his distant father (surprising David Cross) and suffocating, mentally ill mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and matriculates into Columbia University. He eschews his anti-Semitic roommate ("Hymies are all about work") for the moody Carr, who is "only good at beginnings." Together they consider it their "duty to break the law," to rail against established poets, so they create the "New Vision," the "Beats," as they spend more time in Harlem jazz clubs than their classrooms.

The pair's Benzedrine-fueled mantra was "first thought, best thought" as they replaced the library's celebrated "Beowulf," Gutenberg Bible and Shakespeare First Folio texts with Henry Miller and other lascivious literature, before devolving into darker drugs and deeds.

Ginsberg dedicated his seminal work "Howl and Other Poems" to Carr, who asked that his name be "killed" from further editions.

Carr has been followed to various schools by mentor/ghost writer/lover/stalker David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), as recounted by the young man's mother (uncredited Kyra Sedgwick). Carr portrayed Kammerer as a homosexual predator, so only received 18 months in a reformatory for what he did to him, invoking the "honor slaying" rule. Carr then became a longtime UPI editor until his death in 2005.

In addition to these "what happened after 'the incident'" closing notes, special video features include deleted scenes, "On the Red Carpet at the Toronto Film Festival," a Q&A with Krokidas and Bunn, a conversation with Radcliffe and DeHaan, and commentary by Radcliffe, DeHaan, Krokidas and Bunn.

William Faulkner said, "In writing, you must kill all your darlings." Ginsberg dedicated his seminal work "Howl and Other Poems" to Carr, who asked that his name be "killed" from further editions.

"Kill Your Darlings"
Blu-ray/DVD combo pack

Louise Adams is a Chicago freelance writer at www.treefalls.com (and a nom de guerre).


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