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Sundance review: "Kill Your Darlings"

Published January 22, 2013 7:56 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

"Kill Your Darlings"

U.S. Dramatic

** 1/2 (two and a half stars)

The elements are all there: A talented and brave cast, a fearless director, gorgeous cinematography and detailed period production design. So why does "Kill Your Darlings" fail to soar? Maybe it's our internal knowledge of the famous names depicted in their college days: Allen Ginsberg (played by Daniel Radcliffe), William Burroughs (played by Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (played by Jack Huston). It's 1944, and Ginsberg is a freshman at Columbia, drawn into the orbit of the charismatic Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), who wants to fight educational conformity to create a new literary movement, called "The New Vision." But Lucien is mercurial in his relationships, as evidenced by David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), an erudite ex-professor desperate to be loved by Lucien. Director John Krokidas (co-writing with Austin Bunn) tell the tale with great care and affection, but they stumble by assuming we know enough about these Beat Generation icons that we'll fill in the gaps of character development. The cast is top-notch, with Radcliffe making Ginsberg grow up before our eyes and Foster capturing Burroughs' innate weirdness.

- Sean P. Means

"Kill Your Darlings" screens again: Saturday, 10 p.m., Redstone Cinema 2, Park City; Sunday, 3:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City; Wednesday, 9 a.m., Egyptian Theatre, Park City; Friday, 8:45 p.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City.

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