The ‘Beat Generation’ was a cultural movement that gained prominence in post-World War 2 America. It rejected standard social mores aiming at encouraging personal experimentation. It was inspired by a group of writers who are featured in Kill Your Darlings. It explores the ideas and drama surrounding it by examining the genesis of the movement. Benefitting from solid performances and John Krokidas’ strong direction, Kill Your Darlings is an intriguing look at the initial sparks causing a revolution.
Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) are writers determined to change the system. Attempting to break free of the strictures of war and forge new horizons, their creativity seems limitless. Into the fray appears David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) whose obsessive manner leads to a morass of intrigue. Their lives are forever altered as they deal with the consequences of their actions.
Kill Your Darlings is a fascinating exploration of desire, love and loss. Gifted in their own ways, the writers’ creative urges were often stymied by personal developments. The frustrations those moments brought would challenge their abilities. Their determination in ensuring archaic institutions would change their ways of thinking would prove inspirational. Hovering above this were their sexualities, as each explored their conflicted feelings and depths of their passion.
The actors all provide strong renditions of their real-life counterparts. Radcliffe and DeHaan are especially memorable as almost star-crossed lovers bound by their own principles. How they stood by their beliefs would define their futures. This strand provides Kill Your Darlings with its most compelling moments. Krokidas ensures the many revelations are evenly revealed leading to an unpredictable denouncement.
An intriguing drama about personal and professional aspirations, Kill Your Darlings is a fine drama. The contributions of each writer would outlast their early tortured lives with their skills in questioning ancient ideals forever welcome.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 7