Daniel Radcliffe is still on his mission to shake off his Harry Potter persona. Playing Beat poet Allen Ginsberg is his biggest challenge yet but will he succeed?
In 1940’s New York, Columbia freshman Allen Ginsberg meets rebellious student Lucian Carr (Dane DeHaan). Carr in turn introduces Ginsberg to Jack Kerouac (Jack Houston) and William S Burroughs (Ben Foster), who would go on with Ginsberg to be part of the “Beat Generation”. However between drinking, drug-taking and writing poetry the group end up involved in a murder.
There’s a good story in the origins of the “Beat Generation” unfortunately this isn’t it. The groundwork is there and it all feels like it’s building up to a dramatic climax and yet it all falls rather flat.
It almost feels like Kill Your Darlings is falling victim to the very thing the Beat Poets were trying to avoid. Ginsberg and co talk about being creative and letting go of tradition yet the film seems afraid to take any risks. So what we are left with as a well-told but ultimately emotionless film. Yes it’s well made and the acting isn’t bad but we are seeing the creation of the beat movement, so why does most of the film feel so uninspired?
If the film has one redeeming feature it’s Dane DeHann as Lucian Carr. Amid a so-so film he stands out as the charismatic but manipulative student, showing again why DeHann is currently getting a lot of attention. Unfortunately he also puts Radcliffe in the shade. Radcliffe isn’t bad but I’ve yet to be completely convinced by him in another role outside Harry Potter. Hopefully he’ll find a grown-up role that suits him but Kill Your Darlings isn’t it.
Rating 2.5/5 – DeHann is excellent, the rest of the film is average