Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 01:00

'Kill Your Darlings' is unconvincing look at poets' pasts + Video

'Kill Your Darlings' is unconvincing look at poets' pasts http://www.sonyclassics.com/killyourdarlings
Written by Martha K. Baker
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Related Video

About this Media...

  • Director: John Krokidas
  • Dates: Opens Nov. 27, 2013

"Kill Your Darlings" tries very hard to reveal a barely known fact in the lives and death of the Beat poets -- as if their lives have not been done to death already. It's hard to fathom why anyone would care about these undergrown boys. But for the chapter their lives tell of America's fairly recent gay history, their journeys are so ego-centric as to be, at least, exclusionary and, at most, dull.

The title refers to a basic rule of writing: if you love it, lose it. But it also refers to a death in this family of young Harvard eds (well, they weren't co-eds because females were allowed only in Harvard's sister school, Barnard). This live poets' society consists of Allen Ginsburg, William S. Burroughs (local boy, made bad), and Jack Kerouac, plus lesser lights of lit: Lucien Carr and David Kammerer.

Ginsburg, skinny and curly-haired, serves the group more as sidekick. In poetry class, he continues discussions about poetry and prosody -- assonance, trope, rhyme, etc. -- that he had with his poet father. At first, Ginsburg witnesses his fellows taking drugs, cheating on girlfriends or flirting with boyfriends as he, himself, is trying to figure out what to do with his desires for their comely selves in a time when jail was a real threat to homosexuals. In many ways non-poetic, Ginsburg is a naive virgin, and "Kill Your Darlings" is as much about his awakening as it is about Lucien Carr's crime.

But to make a film with the sidekick as the hero is always dicey. John Krokidas directed the film and co-wrote it with Austin Bunn. Krokidas' sincere work sincere includes lots of close-ups of light reflected off rimless glasses and Vitalis, of wet, red lips and of hairy bellies in bed. Maybe the camera zooms in so often because 2013 demands intimacy that the 1940s could not.

As Ginsburg, Daniel Radcliffe does his best to see into the youthful days of the poet, to draw Ginsburg's lines with a firmer pressure. Dane DeHaan tries to make Carr a troubled soul without much of a soul. But the rest of the cast poses: here is Ben Foster as the natty Burroughs in a bathtub, his nose roped to nitrous oxide; here is Michael C. Hall, portraying Kammerer, softer in face and form than Hall's Dexter. Here is Jack Huston, looking vaguely like Henry Fonda but with generations of Hustons in his family tree as he portrays Jack Kerouac. Women are negligible to these men, so Elizabeth Olsen as Kerouac's girlfriend and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Ginsburg's mother are wispy, too. David Cross does well as Ginsburg senior, and John Collum is a steady poetry prof.

Too often, "Kill Your Darlings" lies dead on the screen, providing a bit of history -- poetical, criminal, and sexual.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


The Mound City Slickers

Mon August 4

The Driftaways

Mon July 28
The Driftaways are a seven-man reggae band hailing from St. Louis. Their E.P. "Don't Hide" is full of high-energy jams and groovy improvisations that give the band's music a good-time vibe. Download their…

KDHX Recommends

August
Friday
22

TOCO Family Festival

TOCO hosts its annual Family Festival at Jellystone Park in Eureka, featuring camping, live music, contests, family activities, art, food, vendors and much more. tocofestival.com


August
Saturday
23

Amelia White with Sergio Webb at Harvest Sessions 2014

Amelia White with Sergio Webb at Harvest Sessions 2014 Nashville, Tennessee-based songwriter Amelia White with guitarist Sergio Webb are this week's featured artists for Harvest Sessions. This free Saturday morning concert series takes place at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market,...


August
Friday
29

Small Black, Scarlet Tanager

KDHX welcomes Small Black to the Ready Room, with Scarlet Tanager. This event is all ages.


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Upcoming Events HAPPENING

Online Users

5 users and 9333 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook