Kill Your Darlings (film review)

I have watched so many films, yet whenever someone asks me my favourite, I seem to forget every film I’ve ever watched. This is probably because I have so many favourites that I find it hard to decide on just one. Well, I actually took some time and thought about which film I consider unparalleled and “Kill Your Darlings” was, without a doubt, at the top of my list.

I was attracted to this film due to my love for the Beat generation; they have fascinated me for years. I don’t tend to watch trailers, since nowadays you can find out the entire plot of a film from those few minutes, but I had read several reviews of this film and since it was about my beloved Beats I desperately wanted it to be brilliant. I was not disappointed.

“First thought, best thought”

My first thought when I watched this film was simply “wow”.
“Kill Your Darlings” is based on a true story (although there are several historical inaccuracies, but it doesn’t make too much of a difference); it recounts the beginning of the Beat generation, told from Allen Ginsberg’s point of view.
Allen (Daniel Radcliffe) meets Lucien Carr, who is now known as the spark that lit the Beat’s flame. Lucien is played by Dane DeHaan, who has such a dark, intense way of acting, that he mesmerizes the audience right from his first scene. As Allen falls under Lucien’s spell, so do we. Dane DeHaan is absolutely amazing – he was alluring and mysterious, a polar opposite to Daniel Radcliffe’s awkward and slightly naive character, and while I was touched by Daniel’s honest and thoughtful portrayal of a young Allen Ginsberg, I was captivated by Dane as Lucien.

Lucien was the most significant figure in the formation of the Beats, as the film progresses he introduces Allen to William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster), and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston). As well as these icons, Lu (Lucien’s nickname throughout the film) also introduced Allen to one of his mentors, David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), who was besotted with him. This infatuation ultimately leads to an awful event – which was a pivotal moment in the film as well as the actual Beat movement.

In case you haven’t already realised, right from the start of “Kill Your Darlings”, I was in awe. As well as a remarkable story, it is beautifully shot (every scene was shot on location, surprisingly), the acting is great and the film is well-paced throughout. In the same way Lucien changed Allen’s life, this film changed mine. I can’t recommend it enough.

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