Review By: Mut Asheru
KILL YOUR DARLINGS, directed by John Krokidas is a movie about young male poets at tug-of-war with themselves and the world around them. Going into this film blindly will yield surprise, irritation and overall satisfaction.
Once again, script and casting has propelled a potentially unwatchable premise of a thing into movie gold. Krokidas’ and Austin Bunn’s script is a colossal accomplishment when you take into account the fact that young poets are more often than not only exciting to themselves. The acting had to be strong in this film in order to sustain and propel us over the moments of pretentious youths waxing poetic and fancying themselves to be great writers. Ultimately they do become writers of note. However, this is their story of “before that”.
David Kammerer’s (Micheal C. Hall) murder by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) in 1944 happened amidst the burgeoning friendship and education of beat generation poets: Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston), and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster). The knot that binds these potential young revolutionaries is male fatale is Lucien Carr.
As the action really takes place inside the character’s minds there are close-ups a plenty in Krokidas’ “Kill Your Darlings”. Early on, it’s the eye language that lets you in on the fact that you’re witnessing a love story. A complicated love story. And lemme tell you, the lead actors have some peepers for that ass! I bullshit you not. Dane’s eyes are sumptuously deep with emotion while Micheal C. Halls eyes are familiar sinkholes of detached desperation that positively reek of cold “lost in love” devotion. And everybody knows Daniel Radcliffe has them eyeballs that would convince a drowning women that she needs a drank uhv water. And damnit, Radcliffe can act his ass off. I’m finally taking him seriously. Call me tardy for the party but I’m here now.
Outside of the lead characters this first time full-length feature attempt by Krokidas is peppered with severe star talent Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Cross, Kyra Sedgwick, David Rasche and John Cullum. The film is colored in a way that has a decidedly vintage feel and helps wrap up everything in a nice little bow.
Well done. (Click here to view Director Q&A)