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.
Kill Your Darlings
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 movements?
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.