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Kill Your Darlings


Stars: Daniel Radcliffe. Dane DeHaan, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael C Hall, Elizabeth Olsen, David Rasche, Kyra Sedgwick

Director: John Krokidas

A very well acted study of a cataclysmic series of events in the early years of the (mainly gay) beat poets, notably Allen Ginsberg (Radcliffe) on whom the film focuses.

Director Krokidas tries hard to keep his storyline going here, though one's attention does tend to drift away on occasions on a torrent of words.

Getting into Columbia University in New York, Allen, the son of a poet (Cross, whose wife (Leigh) is mentally ill, soon encounters the bisexual, dope-smoking Lucien Carr (DeHaan) who quickly converts the Jewish newcomer to a world of smoky bars and a 'new vision' of writing. Lucien, however, is stalked by David Kammerer (Hall), a former professor now working as a janitor, with whom he shares a murky past.

It's this relationship that will ultimately bring disaster and dissolution to the circle.

Good performances all round, from a committed Radcliffe - although a sexual encounter between himself and a sailor (Olen Holm) late in the film seems superfluous to the narrative - to the charismatic DeHaan, whose languidly magnetic portrayal makes you understand why he is so attractive to fellow students.

In the end, not very fulfilling as drama, but still a well-made piece of some historical interest.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: The Works. Colour by deluxe.
101 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 02 Dec 2013