(Sundance) Review: Kill Your Darlings

Posted by Alia Haddad on January 23, 2013 at 11:28 am

(Sundance) Review: Kill Your Darlings

John Krokidas’s Kill Your Darlings was at the top of everyone’s must-see lists at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. So, as a devoted list-reader, see it I did! And what did I think about this based-on-true-events story of a murder that tears apart the young, soon-to-be Beat poet group of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and Lucien Carr? Well, I left the movie with a similar feeling after I left the Prohibition-era movie, Lawless: it was good but not great.

The main issue I thought that plagued the movie was its script. It was a little disappointing, with events and character development moving a little too quickly (what, the Sofia Coppola way of story development is right for me). While Kill Your Darlings did boast very strong performances by each of the main, and supporting, actors, I just did not feel all that connected to the characters. Or, rather, I was just generally unconvinced that each of the characters felt this deep connection to one another.

But unsatisfying script aside, Kill Your Darlings had two very real things working in its favor: its great performances, like I said, and its captivating plot. I mean, not matter how quickly the story actually moved, it does not change the fact that we are dealing with the Beat poets! After being introduced to them as a child by my father, I fancied myself one of them, and now I get to see how this group formed and subsequently splintered? Throw in a murder and you have more than guaranteed my attendance. Surely this story has more than just me interested.

And if that plot isn’t for you (what, did you miss junior year English class?!), then surely the cast will be. With Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, Elizabeth Olsen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Cross, and Kyra Sedgwick this movie really does have something–or rather, someone– for everyone. And while the soundtrack was a little too pop/mainstream for me (yes, we all know who the Kings of Leon are), at least it tried its hand at anachronisms (a la my favorite Coppola when she tries her hand at period films), and for that risk I am grateful.

While Kill Your Darlings definitely did have its faults, I was happy I saw it. I said it once, and I’ll say it again: Kill Your Darlings was good, but not great. Luckily, though, you will be able to judge for yourself  since, quite naturally, Kill Your Darlings had no problems getting picked up, and just a mere 12 hours ago was acquired by Sony Pictures.

SEE IT (if only to see Ben Foster continue to be amazing at everything he attempts).



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