Daniel Radcliffe takes on a different kind of role for him as Allen Ginsberg in the film Kill Your Darlings. Ginsberg was one of the writers to change the way that poetry was thought about and how it was treated. His life was just as nonconformist as his ideas about what poetry should be, encouraging the idea that rules are made to be broken (and indeed, he broke them all).
Before attending Columbia University, Allen was what you would call a square; never drank, smoked or did recreational drugs. That changed, however, when he met Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) who would become his friend and lover. The film also features other well-known Beat authors William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston). Together they brought in a ‘new vision’ that redefined writing.
Lust, love and obsession are key aspects of the film as the viewer is immersed into the jazz clubs, underground venues and plenty of parties. Everything from booze, cigarettes, coffee, speed and nitrous oxide were used to help transform Ginsberg into an outspoken individual. Unconventional and unaccepted views of homosexuality at the time are also at the center of the film, with its male characters discovering their sexuality with one another.
Radcliffe portrayed Ginsberg brilliantly, allowing the viewer to understand his confusion and timid nature and his transformation into a man filled with his own ideas that he wasn’t afraid to voice. Right at his side is Dane DeHaan who portrays Lucien Carr with confidence and arrogance. Carr has more of a problem accepting who he truly is, fighting himself to the very end in a moment that will redefine his life forever. Michael C. Hall (Dexter) plays Lu’s lover and stalker, David Kammerer, who was a constant overbearing weight on the group’s ideas of literary revolution and whose sincerity was dubious.
Kill Your Darlings emphasizes the importance of self-acceptance with its stark, raw portrayal of these young men’s lives at the beginning of everything to come. It also reminds of the vast power of words and the ideas behind them. It was the power of their words and ideas that scarred those around them who viewed the world more traditionally. Words and ideas also expresses the importance of the experiences to back up those words; that everything is more than just an idea in your head or words on a page. The actions and experiences push words to have a life outside of the ink sprawled across the page.