Kill Your Darlings (2013 film)

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Kill Your Darlings
Kill Your Darlings poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Krokidas
Produced by
Screenplay by John Krokidas
Austin Bunn
Story by Austin Bunn
Starring
Music by Nico Muhly
Cinematography Reed Morano
Edited by Brian A. Kates
Production
  company
Killer Films
Benaroya Pictures
Future Film
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date(s)
  • January 18, 2013 (2013-01-18) (Sundance)
  • October 16, 2013 (2013-10-16) (United States)
Running time 104 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,686,065[2][3]

Kill Your Darlings is a 2013 American biographical drama film written by Austin Bunn and directed by John Krokidas in his feature film directorial debut. The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, garnering positive first reactions. It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival,[4] and it had a limited theatrical North American release from October 16, 2013.[5] Kill Your Darlings also became available on Blu-ray and DVD, March 18, 2014 in the US, followed by its UK release on April 21, 2014.[6]

The story is about the college days of some of the earliest members of the Beat Generation, their interactions, and a killing that took place.

Plot[edit]

As a young man in the 1940s, poet Allen Ginsberg wins a place at Columbia University in New York City. He arrives as a very inexperienced freshman, but soon runs into Lucien Carr, who is very anti-establishment and rowdy.

After a while, Ginsberg discovers that Carr only manages to stay at Columbia thanks to a somewhat older man, a teacher, David Kammerer, who writes all of his term papers for him, and seems perhaps to have been an ex-lover of Carr's. It appears that Kammerer is still in love with Carr, but it also appears that Carr is now simply using him.

Ginsberg's fellow students in the English department include the rebellious writer William S. Burroughs, already far into drug experimentation. The writer Jack Kerouac, who was a sailor at that time, also meets and spends time with them. Ginsberg takes part in various extreme escapades with this extraordinary group of people.

Carr eventually tells Kammerer he is done with him, and recruits Ginsberg (who has a crush on him) to write his term papers instead. After a while, Kerouac and Carr attempt to run off and join the merchant marine together, hoping to go to Paris.

There is a confrontation between Carr and Kammerer, during which Kammerer is killed by stabbing (and perhaps also by drowning). Carr is arrested, and asks Ginsberg to write his deposition for him. Ginsberg is at first reluctant to help the unstable Carr, but after digging up more crucial evidence on Kammerer and his past relationship, he writes a piece entitled "The Night in Question". The piece describes a more emotional event, in which Carr kills Kammerer who outright tells him to after being threatened with the knife, devastated by this final rejection. Carr rejects the 'fictional' story, and begs a determined Ginsberg to not reveal it to anybody, afraid that it will ruin him in the ensuing trial.

We learn from Carr's mother that Kammerer was the first person to seduce Carr, when he was much younger and lived in Chicago. After the trial we find out that Carr testified that the attack took place only because Kammerer was a sexual predator, and that Carr killed him in self-defense. Carr is not convicted of murder and receives only a short sentence.

Ginsberg then submits "The Night in Question" as his final term paper. On the basis of that shocking piece of prose, Ginsberg is faced with possible expulsion from Columbia. Either he must be expelled or he must embrace establishment values. He chooses the former, but is forced to leave his typescript behind. A week or two later he receives the typescript in the mail with an encouraging letter from his professor telling him to pursue his writing.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

In 2008, while performing Equus on Broadway, Daniel Radcliffe auditioned and got the part of Ginsberg. Radcliffe went on to film the last two Harry Potter films, Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2, and with him unavailable for filming, Chris Evans, Jesse Eisenberg, and Ben Whishaw were cast without Radcliffe. Shortly after, financing for the film fell through. When director John Krokidas started production on the film again, he offered the role of Ginsberg back to Radcliffe.

Release[edit]

Critical reaction[edit]

Kill Your Darlings has received generally positive reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives a 76% rating based on reviews from 123 critics, with an average score of 6.6/10. The site's consensus states: "Bolstered by the tremendous chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan, Kill Your Darlings casts a vivid spotlight on an early chapter in the story of the Beat Generation".[7] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 65 based on 36 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8]

The Daily Telegraph granted the film a score of three out of five stars, stating that, "Unlike Walter Salles's recent adaptation of On the Road, which embraced the Beat philosophy with a wide and credulous grin, Kill Your Darlings is inquisitive about the movement's worth, and the genius of its characters is never assumed".[9] Reviewing Kill Your Darlings after its showing at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, critic Damon Wise of The Guardian lauded the film for being "the real deal, a genuine attempt to source the beginning of America's first true literary counterculture of the 20th century". Kill Your Darlings, wrote Wise, "creates a true sense of energy and passion, for once eschewing the clacking of typewriter keys to show artists actually talking, devising, and ultimately daring each other to create and innovate. And though it begins as a murder-mystery, Kill Your Darlings may be best described as an intellectual moral maze, a story perfectly of its time and yet one that still resonates today." Wise awarded the film four out of five stars.[10] Justin Chang of Variety wrote, "A mysterious Beat Generation footnote is fleshed out with skilled performances, darkly poetic visuals and a vivid rendering of 1940s academia in 'Kill Your Darlings.' Directed with an assured sense of style that pushes against the narrow confines of its admittedly fascinating story, John Krokidas' first feature feels adventurous yet somewhat hemmed-in as it imagines a vortex of jealousy, obsession and murder that engulfed Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac in the early days of their literary revolution."[11]

Accolades[edit]

Awards
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
BFI London Film Festival October 19, 2013 Sutherland Trophy John Krokidas Nominated
Gotham Awards[12] December 2, 2013 Best Breakthrough Actor Dane DeHaan Nominated
Hamptons International Film Festival[13] October 12, 2013 Breakthrough Performer Dane DeHaan Won
Jack Huston Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival[14] January 5, 2013 Directors to Watch John Krokidas Won
Sundance Film Festival[15] January 26, 2013 Grand Jury Prize Nominated
Venice Film Festival[16] September 7, 2013 The Venice Days International Award Won

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'KILL YOUR DARLINGS (15)". The Works. British Board of Film Classification. October 21, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Kill Your Darlings". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Kill Your Darlings". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Toronto film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian. 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2013-11-18. 
  5. ^ Chitwood, Adam (June 7, 2013). "KILL YOUR DARLINGS Set for October 18th Release; Matthew McConaughey’s DALLAS BUYERS CLUB Opens December 6th". collider.com. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Kill Your Darlings 2013 - Movie Rental & DVD Release Dates". http://www.ondvdreleases.com. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Kill Your Darlings (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Kill Your Darlings". Metacritic. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ Collin, Robbie (September 5, 2013). "Kill Your Darlings, Venice Film Festival, review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  10. ^ Wise, Damon (January 20, 2013). "Sundance film festival 2013: Kill Your Darlings - first look review". The Guardian (London). Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ Chang, Justin (January 18, 2013). "Sundance film festival 2013: Kill Your Darlings - first look review". Variety. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  12. ^ Schoenbrun, Dan (24 October 2013). "Nominees Announced for the 23rd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards By IFP". Independent Filmmaker Project. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch Honored at Hamptons Film Festival". Variety. PMC. 12 October 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  14. ^ Janosik, Erin (6 August 2013). "WATCH: Daniel Radcliffe in ‘Kill Your Darlings’ Teaser". BBC America. BBC Worldwide. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "‘Kill Your Darlings’ slays Venice". Cornell Chronicle. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "The Venice Days International Award goes to Kill Your Darlings". Venice Days. 07/09/2013. 

External links[edit]