Daniel Radcliffe plays a young, lovesick Allen Ginsberg in this weak piece of historical fan fiction.
John Krokidas (USA, Gala Presentation)
Tuesday, September 10, 6:30 p.m.
Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe Street)
Wednesday, September 11, 2:30 p.m.
Visa Screening Room, Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge Street)
What if a young Allen Ginsberg had a schoolboy crush on a rebellious young man locked up for murder? That’s the lurid premise behind Kill Your Darlings, a tedious bit of historical fan fiction designed to bring the beat poets back to life for people who like the idea of YA novels but are too lazy to read them.
As in the Harry Potter films, Daniel Radcliffe makes a passable straight-man lead, just bland enough for more interesting character actors like rising star Dane DeHaan (as Lucien Carr, honorary beat and Ginsberg’s would-be lover) and Ben Foster (as an unsmiling William S. Burroughs) to bounce off of. The downside is that he could be playing anyone: there’s little sense here of the manic, generational insight of the poet who wrote Howl. The best first-time feature director John Krokidas can do to show a restless creative mind at work is rewind his footage when his leads are in a drug haze. It’s a pity he couldn’t rewind the film all the way back to the script stage.