Tag Archives: Dane DeHaan

Kill Your Darlings (2013)

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

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I’ve always enjoyed the Spider-Man character, and despite my initial reservations I liked the 2012 reboot The Amazing Spider-Man.

Having graduated from high school Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and on/off girlfriend Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) are trying to work out their complicated love life. Meanwhile Harry Osborn, an old friend of Peter’s, is in New York with a secret of his own, and a new villain Electro (Jamie Fox) is causing problems for Spidey.

First of all this film does not fall into the trap of Spider-Man 3 and become overwhelmed by the amount of villains onscreen. Out of the film’s baddies only Rhino (Paul Giamatti) feels like he was tacked on to give the film more villains. Fox is great as Electro, a guy desperate to be seen even before his unfortunate accident. Even better is DeHaan as Harry. Given a powerful motivation for his actions its easy to get swept along in his descent into villainy. He almost steals the show away from Garfield and Stone. But not quite. This is their movie.

The strength of the Spider-Man stories has always been the relationships, whether his romantic one with Gwen Stacey, his family bond with his aunt May or even his turbulent friendship with Harry Osborne. All the relationships here are handled beautifully. Of course at the centre of all this is Peter and Gwen’s relationship. Some of the best moments of the film is them discussing their relationship and their plans for the future, whether it should be together or apart. Garfield and Stone are key to making this work on-screen. Both handling their scenes with intensity and emotion that draws the audience in and gets you rooting for them. They are both also great with comedy and dramatic scenes.

There are some aspects which are lacking in this film. The action scenes are functional but not jaw-dropping and I’m still not completely convinced the mystery about his parents is that interesting. However when a film packs an emotioanl puch as much as this one does then it barely matters.

Rating 4/5-Funny, sweet and heartbreaking good with Garfield and Stone on top form

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