Published on January 20th, 2013 | by Andrew Ashari0
Sundance 2013: ‘Kill Your Darlings’
Kill Your Darlings is a film that is as equally shocking as it is ambitious. I caught a press screening of the film yesterday and was surprised to see the great range of performances. I went into the film with little knowledge and I can say that it is one of the more memorable films at the festival. Director John Krokidas helms the film and tells the true story of a murder in 1944 that draws together the great poets of the beat generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. The cast includes Daniel Radcliffe (Ginsberg), Jack Huston (Kerouac), Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster (Burroughs), Michael C. Hall, and Elizabeth Olsen.
I was unfamiliar with the premise of the film and soon became immersed into the exhilarating and heart breaking story of a group of friends trying to move the world with their words. Poetry is their weapon. The story follows a young writer, Allen Ginsberg (Racliffe), who is accepted to Columbia University and soon meets Lucien Carr, a troubled student with great ambition. Through Carr, Ginsberg meets Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. The film explores their deep rooted desires for creative freedom and expression. The group tries to tear down society’s artistic fascism by creating a new piece of work entitled, The New Vision. What makes the film even more mesmerizing is the fact that the entire story is wrapped around a murder plot.
The performances in this film are breathtaking. Daniel Radcliffe has come a long way from Harry Potter. He leads the film as the turbulent and ambitious young writer, Allen Ginsberg. Opposite of Radcliffe is Chronicle actor, Dane DeHaan, who gives the best performance in the film. DeHaan plays the enigmatic and seductive college student, Lucien Carr. A bit of warning for some viewers, there are some very sexual explicit scenes between males in this film. You can really tell that Radcliffe is trying really hard to break away from his Harry Potter stigma. Michael C. Hall does a fantastic job playing DeHaan’s much older and tormented ex-lover. Ben Foster and Jack Huston also provide phenomenal supporting performances to compliment Radcliffe and DeHaan.
Director John Krokidas and Cinematographer Reed Morano create a very visceral and moving picture. The style of the film is very dark and explores the deep seeded passion and rebellious behavior from our main characters. Krokidas creates dark scenes with high tension and raw emotion, all while maintaining the subtext of the story. I don’t want to give anything away from this film, but I can assure you that this will definitely be an award contender in the future. Outstanding performances throughout and a well-crafted film to say the least.
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