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In this dynamic portrait of the early days of the Beat Generation, a young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) become embroiled in the notorious 1944 murder of Burroughs’ friend David Kammerer by the object of his affection, the Beat muse Lucien Carr.
For Beat Generation aficionados, the 1944
murder of David Kammerer by Lucien Carr
has always sparked a morbid fascination.
Kammerer was an old friend of William
S. Burroughs, and Carr was a charismatic,
transgressive figure who inspired many in
this group of young literary iconoclasts.
Amongst those who fell under Carr's spell
was Allen Ginsberg, and it is Ginsberg
who becomes the hero and conscience of
Kill Your Darlings, John Krokidas's darkly
alluring film about this formative event in
the story of the Beats.
In a master stroke of casting, Ginsberg is
played by Daniel Radcliffe, who embodies
this young poet in the throes of a sentimental
education. Ginsberg arrives at Columbia
University and soon witnesses Carr (Dane
DeHaan) reciting Henry Miller while perched
atop a classroom desk. From there the two
plunge into New York's wild jazz clubs and
wilder parties at the apartment of the elder
sophisticate Kammerer (Michael C. Hall).
Historic meetings with Burroughs
(a dryly magnificent Ben Foster) and
Jack Kerouac (an irresistibly cocky Jack
Huston) are realized with propulsive
energy, while the relationship between
Carr and Kammerer becomes increasingly
precarious and uncertain.
Which of these men is the predator?
Should Carr take full responsibility for
Kammerer's death? Should Carr's friends
do whatever it takes to shield him from the
law? And how will this crime help define one
of the twentieth century's pivotal artistic
Flush with a dynamic visual style and
a soundtrack that's at times anachronistic
but always atmospherically perfect,
Krokidas's feature debut seduces and illuminates,
evoking a world of self-discovery
and troubled desire — while somewhere in
the midst of all this mirth and mayhem,
brilliant careers are taking shape.
- John Krokidas
- John Krokidas was born in Springfield,
Massachusetts. He studied theatre
and American studies at Yale before
attending New York University's
graduate film program. He wrote and
directed the short films Shame No
More (99) and Slo-Mo (01). Kill Your
Darlings (13) is his feature debut.