Friday, 15 November 2013

Kill Your Darlings

I saw this at the Bafta with m'learned colleague Hilary Wright, who is a member, got me in as a guest and very generously stood me a glass of wine. We had seen 'Howl' when that was out so 'Kill Your Darlings' seemed an ideal companinon film featuring some of the same characters. Daniel Radcliffe was very impressive as Allen Ginsberg. The story centred around the friendships forged by Ginsberg whilst studying poetry at university during World War 2. As the story was based on a real murder, which happened as the result of an older man's obsession with a much younger one, it was interesting to reflect upon how times have changed with regard to sexuality. As the unhappy couple Lucian Carr and David Kammerer, Dane DeHaan and Michael C. Hall gave it their all, detailing the mutual dependency that was to prove fatal for the older man. DeHaan's performance was particularly affecting as the insecure younger man who could only gain credibility by exploiting the talents of others to shore himself up. When Carr and Kerouac plan to go to Europe together - a true bid for freedom from family, tradition and the stultifying middle-class life that Carr endured, tragedy follows, the resolution of which Ginsberg witnesses. That's the strange thing, Ginsberg is the protagonist of the film yet he seems very passive throughout, drawn out of his shell by his brash contemporaries yet hesitant to act upon his nascent yearnings for the same sex. But then those were the times, I guess. Women do not feature hugely in the narrative except as mad mother, Naomi Ginsberg (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a rapacious Librarian or Carr's mother (an uncredited Kyra Sedgwick), keen to move her son around to esacpe the relentless attentions of Kammerer and any whiff of scandal. Even so, the film was very good on period detail like the jazz clubs that were the milieu of the beat poets and special mention must go to Ben Foster playing a young William Burroughs. Daniel Radcliffe attended a Q and A afterwards and was utterly charming; self-deoprecating, down-to-earth and he clearly enjoyed shooting a film in 28 days as opposed to the marathon that was Harry Potter. This is worth seeing if you saw 'Howl' and 'On The Road'. It definitely made me want to research more about that period. Here's the trailer:

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