21st October 2013

Preview: Kill Your Darlings

Sarah Murray previews the eagerly-anticipated Beat biopic ‘Kill Your Darlings’

Kill Your Darlings, set to arrive in UK theatres in early December, comes riding on a wave of buzz that has been generated around the film since its premiere at Sundance last January. Critics are calling the movie ‘expressive, jazzy and ambitious,’ to which the taste of the film that we are given in the trailer is testament. Those of you who are already great fans of the Beat Generation, and the explosive literature they produced, may anticipate the release of the film more eagerly. However, anyone who is interested in stories that touch upon themes of sexual obsession, counterculture and death should be equally frantic for the film’s UK release.

Kill Your Darlings tells the story of the origins of the Beat Generation, an American literary movement that rose to prominence in the 1950’s. The Beats sought to challenge the rigid moral framework of America at that time, gripped in an ideological war against homosexuality and other ‘social vices,’ and subject to the witch hunt of perceived ‘dissidents’ by McCarthyism, whose primary target was artists like the Beats. As a certain infamous/comical poster from the period states: ‘Beware of artists: they mix with all classes of society and are therefore the most dangerous.’

The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as poet Allen Ginsberg in this biopic set on the Columbia Campus in the early 1940’s. In the film, Ginsberg falls hopelessly under the spell of his handsome and charismatic classmate Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan, The Place beyond the Pines), who introduces him to fellow aspiring writers William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. This is the genesis of the literary group that has come to be known as the Beat Generation, and the film documents Ginsberg’s creative and sexual awakening. However, David Kammerer’s (Michael C. Hall, Dexter) complete infatuation with Carr leads to his murder at the hands of his beloved, an act hinted at in the title of the film. Let’s hope the film does this remarkable true story the justice that recent cinematic renderings of the group, such as On the Road, did not.

Release Date: 6th December 

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