Review Roundup: Daniel Radcliffe Stars in KILL YOUR DARLINGS
Kill Your Darlings
For dutiful son ALLEN GINSBERG (Daniel Radcliffe), Columbia University is Mecca-a portal to art, intellect, culture, and freedom-everything hometown Patterson, New Jersey is not. When Allen is accepted into Columbia, his father LOUIS (David Cross), a working-class poet, urges him to leave his emotionally ill mother NAOMI (Jennifer Jason Leigh) behind and head to New York to go pursue his own creative dreams.
At Columbia, Allen finds stuffy tradition clashing with daringly modern ideas and attitudes-embodied by LUCIEN CARR (Dane DeHaan), whom he first encounters shouting a scandalous passage from Henry Miller atop a library study table. With his louche charm and androgynous blond beauty, Lucien is an object of fascination for shy, unsophisticated Allen, and soon he is drawn into Lucien's hard-drinking, reefer-smoking, jazz-clubbing circle of friends, including WILLIAM BURROUGHS (Ben Foster), the dissolute scion of a wealthy family, and DAVID KAMMERER (Michael C. Hall), an older hanger-on who clearly resents Allen's position as Lucien's new sidekick. David apparently followed Lucien to New York, and now works as a janitor despite his showy intellectual pretensions. Lucien uses his moody charisma to pit David against Allen while never quite acknowledging his true feelings for either.
Along with toppling tradition, the "Libertine Circle"-Lucien, Allen, Jack, and William, with David Kammerer on the outside looking in-do their best to subvert authority with reckless adventures, enraging college deans and parents alike. For serious student and dutiful son Allen, it's a liberating rebellion, but for obsessed, spurned David, to be excluded is devastating.
A true story of friendship, love and murder, KYD recounts the pivotal year that changed Allen Ginsberg's life forever and provided the spark for him to start his creative revolution. (c) Sony Pictures Classics
Let's see what the critics have to say...
Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com: "The one wild card throughout is Dane DeHaan's showy, riveting performance as Lucien Carr, the Columbia University student who would take the innocent freshman Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) under his wing and expose him to an intoxicating world of sex, drugs and rock and roll-er, jazz. Radcliffe gets top billing-and "Kill Your Darlings" is yet another laudable example of the actor's daring and desire to distance himself from Harry Potter-but DeHaan steals the show with his unpredictability and smoldering sexuality."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap: "For a low-budget movie, "Kill Your Darlings" gets its wartime details just right, from a nighttime raid of the Columbia library's "forbidden" books to the squalid apartment Kerouac shares with girlfriend Edie (Elizabeth Olsen). The word "beat" is never mentioned, but we do see Ginsberg do a lot of table-drumming when the boys go listen to jazz and talk about their "new vision" for literature. That's what makes it so jarring on the one or two occasions the movie throws in contemporary music."
Jordan Hoffman, Film.com: "I really can't say enough good things about Radcliffe and DeHaan. There is a chemistry between the two of them that is more than just sexual. DeHaan's Bowie-esque stare would have set the Warhol factory ablaze, and Radcliffe's developed a strong sense of confidence. Foster's Burroughs gets a lot of the laughs, but there is a sadness behind his crisp suits and otherworldly poise. John Krokidas is an actor's director, and with this being his first feature, I expect we'll see a lot more good stuff out of him."